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ONLINE SHOPPING SECURITY

Apr 01, 2021
Apr 01, 2021
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Online shopping, otherwise known as e-commerce, is becoming a new way of life for us. More and more people are joining the eCommerce frenzy, especially due to the coronavirus pandemic which doesn’t give us much of a choice. Considering the difficulties of shopping on a regular day, the waiting in lines, the traffic, the need to unpack everything when you get home, it’s easier to just shop the halls of the online marketplace and get what you need from the comfort of your fingertips. 

While online shopping is convenient, shoppers need to be mindful of security when it comes to transacting online, especially because data is so incredibly valuable and stolen data can be a goldmine for threat actors. Here are some useful tips that can help you keep your internet secure when shopping online:

Use Antivirus

Even if you take all the precautions you can, there’s always a risk your device might end up being infected with malware or viruses. In that case, it really helps to have reliable antivirus/antimalware programs installed because they’ll protect your data. What’s more, such a program could also prevent you from accidentally accessing malicious websites.

Just make sure you don’t use free solutions. They aren’t very reliable and might not offer you any protection at all.

Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

A VPN is an online service you can use to protect your privacy and data on the web. It hides your IP address and uses encryption to secure your online traffic, protecting it from any type of surveillance, be it from hackers, government agencies, or ISPs.

While a VPN can’t help protect you from all online shopping security threats, it can make sure you’re not exposed on any Wi-Fi networks. Thus, you could actually shop online while connected to a public Wi-Fi network without having to worry about hackers eavesdropping on your communications.

A VPN could also prevent shopping websites from sharing your geo-location info with third-party advertisers since it masks your IP address (which contains geo-location data). This keeps you out of reach of ads you’re just not interested in.

Always Use Script Blockers

A script blocker is a simple browser extension you can use to prevent harmful scripts (Java, JavaScript, or Flash) from loading on any website you visit. Such a tool is a very smart way of protecting yourself against adware, or any other type of malware or virus that might have infected the online retail website you’re using.

Don’t Use Debit Cards

Credit cards are simply safer than debit cards. Why? Mainly because debit cards don’t normally give you any leverage when disputing a sale. The seller needs to agree to give you your money back, and good luck with that if you’re dealing with a scammer.

What’s more, if you become the victim of fraudulent credit card activity, you won’t be held liable for it – as long as you report the issue in a timely manner, of course.

For example, if you use your credit card to purchase something on a shady website, and then you start noticing weird transactions that you never approved, you can get your money back if you alert the bank in time. Naturally, you’re going to have to get a new credit card after something like that, but the extra security – compared to a debit card – is worth it.

Avoid Any Phishing Attempts

The main idea is to not reply to and delete or block any phishing messages you might get, and not reveal sensitive information on phishing websites. Also, if possible, try to get in touch with the authorities in your country to report the phishing attempt. Oh, and don’t click on any button in the email – even the “Unsubscribe” button – since they can infect your device with malware.

As for the signs of a phishing attempt, most of the signs we mentioned in the section above apply in this case. Other things that might point to a website or message being an online shopping phishing scam include:

  • The message claiming you’re subscribed to a newsletter you’ve never heard about.
  • The email promoting offers that are just too good to be true.
  • Fake CTA buttons (“BUY NOW,” “ORDER NOW,” or “GET IT NOW”).

CONCLUSION

Online Shopping is convenient but it can be dangerous as well so in order to protect yourself from being exposed to the cybercriminals do try out recommendations. If you didn’t get time to read the full article then no worries here is a summarized list of our recommendations that can help you remain protected while shopping online.

  • Use Antivirus
  • Use VPN
  • Avoid any Phishing attempt
  • Use Script blocker
  • Don’t use a Debit card.

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