Cyber security has been essential for many years now. Yet, very few people actually have robust security systems in their computers, or laptops. As an individual consumer, you must do everything possible to protect your data, especially when you are shopping online. Whenever you share your personal details, including financial information, you should be meticulous and unfailingly conscious of where you are shopping, what you are buying and the interface you are dealing with.
Simple but Effective Ways to Protect Personal Data when Shopping Online
First, you must ensure your antivirus software is updated and firewall settings are appropriate. Some consumers use virtual private networks. It is not possible for everyone to use such a resource. You must use a secure internet connection. Public wireless networks are not managed by you, so you have no control over its level of encryption or security. Try to shop online when you are using your own home or office broadband, or Wi-Fi.
Second, you must always shop at trusted online stores. Do not fall for fly by night ecommerce sites. Begin with a basic check of the security status of the website and its level of encryption. Only shop at sites that have a url starting with https, and not just http. Check the SSL certificate. Ideally, an ecommerce site should have 128-bit SSL encryption. Don’t trust unknown stores offering unbelievable prices. Do not share any more information than you have to.
Third, turn down all prompts and permissions that would not otherwise hinder the transaction. For instance, if an ecommerce store asks you to remain signed in, click no or uncheck the box. Remaining signed in means your browsing activity will be tracked and this is a threat to your data and privacy. If an online store wants to send you messages, whether or not you are on the site, block such automated updates and push notifications.
Fourth, use a credit card instead of a debit card or bank account. Credit cards have protection against fraudulent transactions. It is the responsibility of the credit card company to investigate a fraudulent transaction, and you as a consumer would not have to pay anything. A debit card will lead to an immediate deduction of the transacted amount, and you may not have any protection if you are too late to report the fraud to your bank.
Fifth, always be proactive with your periodic reviews of account statements. While banks and credit card companies are expected to alert you every time there is a transaction, genuine or fraudulent, you may miss out on some messages or emails. Checking the accounts in real time is a proactive preventive measure. This way you shall be able to detect fraudulent transactions sooner.
Proactive Alertness is the Key to Cyber Security
Always avoid phishing emails and messages. Never share your data, not even your address or full name, with people who have contacted you out of nowhere. Restrict your online shopping to ecommerce stores that have established their credibility over the years, if not decades.