With the rise of online shopping seeming unlikely to abate anytime soon, websites across the web are gearing up to receive more customers – but just how safe are online shops?
Just like everything else on the web, you exposure yourself to a certain degree of risk whenever you splash the cash online but the risks are more than manageable with a few simple security tips.
Tip #1: Never shop on public Wi-Fi
If you are in a public place using Wi-Fi then you have no idea who is sharing your network. If all public Wi-Fi was encrypted then it would not be such a problem but unfortunately this isn’t the case. By shopping on a public Wi-Fi network you could be exposing your details to cyber criminals who haunt these places. Browse by all means, but wait until you get home or have a secure connection to shop.
Tip #2: Consider using virtual credit cards
Have you heard of virtual credit cards? These cards are great for extra security if shopping on the net as they have much lower limits than traditional cards with shorter expiry dates so that you’re safeguarded against fraud as much as possible.
Considering card fraud totalled £388 million in 2012, it’s clear that virtual credit cards could be a vital lifeline for many internet shoppers. If virtual credit cards don’t sound appeal to you then it’s important you use your actual credit or debit card responsibly. Most banks will implement additional security measures to help protect your cash but you can also pay through services such as PayPal which protects your details.
Tip #3: Check websites are SSL secure
Not sure what an SSL secure website is? Well, if you have accessed a website which shows a little padlock in the browser window then you have used an SSL secure site, which is provided by an SSL certificate.
This is a security measure you should seek on any site you enter sensitive information into. Your information is encrypted at the point of input and cannot be decrypted until it reaches the server it is intended for – offering fantastic website security that helps keep your personal data, well, personal.
Tip 4: Know the best password protocols
Online passwords are the first form of defence against many attacks so it really is important to know the best protocols for keeping them safe. Change your passwords frequently for any account you have and consider using a programme like PassKeeper to manage your passwords for you.
Never use the same password for all your accounts and make sure all the passwords you create are considered ‘secure’. This means avoiding obvious choices like important dates, names or the unimaginative ‘password’, and choosing passwords which use a combination of letters (lower case and capitalised), numbers and symbols.