Online shopping has given millions of netizens convenient and speedy transactions. Some even turn to online transactions for security. The security of not having to take out cash from ATMs and being ransacked by lurking crooks. But with the expansion of the online platforms, hackers are also keeping up with the trend and doing everything they can to penetrate even into the most secure sites.
Internet hacks are a status quo in online trading. It may involve sensitive information like payment card details, usernames, passwords, personal information, and more. And these data breaches have been prevalent ever since businesses started storing information digitally. A couple of significant data breaches have opened most of the entrepreneurs’ eyes and have urged them to revamp their security and encryption services.
Here are some of the big guns in the industry who fell prey to internet thieves:
- Target with around 70 million records breached in 2013
- Home Depot with around 56 million records breached in 2014
- JP Morgan Chase with around 76 million records breached in 2014
- eBay with around 145 million records breached in 2014
- Anthem with around 80 million records breached in 2015.
You’d probably think these companies can protect your information at all times – but think again. It’s a consumer’s duty to always stay safe than be sorry later on. Prevention is better than cure, they say. Here are the top six simple tricks you can do to secure your every online transaction moving forward:
1. Be smart with passwords
Being smart with passwords is a foolproof way of fending off sneaky thieves. That involves, using difficult passwords with lower and upper case letters, numerals, and symbols. Keeping login credentials like usernames and passwords to yourself only. In addition, never input your login credentials or any sensitive information for that matter on any links that you receive in your emails.
2. Choose HTTPS over HTTP
There is a reason why the ‘S’ in HTTPS is there. It stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure and it is a protected version of HTTP. Most websites use this when exchanging highly confidential information online. Also, if you check that the sites have HTTPS; it means all transactions between the browser and the site are encrypted.
3. Use and update protection regularly
Never underestimate the power of anti-virus programs and firewalls. Ensure that you have the most updated version of these programs. A household name in firewall services is SonicWall firewalls. As for anti-virus programs, your PC may come with a pre-installed software that automatically updates itself. Make sure to scan for viruses from time to time.
4. Don’t upload documents with sensitive information on SNS
Before you upload a photo of your passport just so you can brag about your next excursion – STOP. I’ve seen this a couple of times on my news feed and it got me thinking – how can people be so naïve about these things. You can be a victim of identity theft or worse, all that confidential information can be used against you in the future. And while you’re at it, try not to enter your full information like birth dates, phone numbers, your entire address, or even your full name on social media sites.
5. Avoid public Wi-Fi when shopping online
This is an absolute no-no if you want your transactions secure. Don’t even think about shopping online, checking your bank account, or wiring payments from a public Wi-Fi. The drawback is that you are unsure about these public browsers and the security measures (if any). Make sure you do your online transactions from a secure connection. Also, it doesn’t hurt to update your browser to get the most recent encryption technologies.
6. Don’t forget to logout
It only takes one click to log out from financial or merchant sites. Even if you’ve done the transaction at home over a secure internet connection; going the extra mile in protecting sensitive information will go a long way. It’s also advisable not to store important information on these sites so you can click once and everything will be automatically filled in for you on the next transaction. Just input confidential information one by one and you’re good to go.
These are simple yet effective preventive measures you can do to avoid fraudulent transactions. The moment these hackers or spyware find a loophole in your online transactions; they will work their magic and trust me, most of them are experts in the industry. The internet is a tricky field and we have to be smart enough to outwit internet thieves.