As many more shoppers are doing their purchases online, the importance of cyber security becomes essential to everyone. In the real world of shopping, money is involved and where there is money, there go the criminals. And since much shopping transaction is now happening in cyber space, these criminals lost no time in following the money trail targeting any online shoppers they can find.
When people discovered the freedom from stress and fatigue caused by crowds and traffic when they do online shopping, it is becoming more fashionable. There is also the convenience of searching whatever they want from the comfort of their own homes, at their most convenient time, and paying for it without waiting in line. All of these are being done with just a few click of a mouse.
However, the Internet is also a convenient place for cyber criminals as well. They target the online shoppers and fraudulently obtaining information they can use for their own financial gains. There are three most common ways used by criminals in attacking the online shoppers.
Unprotected computers are easy preys for cyber criminals by using viruses and other malicious codes to gain access to the information inside it. On the other end, online vendors have to protect their computers, too, against attackers who may access their customer databases.
Fake sites and email messages
In the virtual online world, an eCommerce site (or an online shop) can be faked by these criminals, with no one the wiser. These fake sites mimic the legitimate ones and inherit the business, at least until they are caught or noticed. Charities had been misrepresented before, especially during natural disasters or holiday seasons where people pour in donation money and aid. Most often, though, these attackers collect information for their own illegal use.
Cyber safety measures
Maintaining an up-to-date anti-virus program, a firewall and anti-spyware is always the three-pronged first line of defense in cyber security. They protect you against viruses and Trojan horses that may steal or modify your data and make your computer vulnerable. Spyware may also give the attackers access to your data.
Browsers are the gateway between your computer and the Internet. They must be updated first. Also, open the option of automatic updates to your computer so that the operating programs and utilities are up to date.
It is likewise important to check the default settings of your computer and apply the highest level of security. This will preempt the attackers to use default setting of the programs. This applies primarily to browsers, email clients, etc. because these are the connectors to the Internet.
This is where care should be taken because cyber criminals are very good at mimicking the sites of legitimate vendors and make it appear genuine. You need to verify their legitimacy before supplying any information. Keep the phone numbers and the physical addresses of these vendors which you can use in case of problems.
Security features and private policies
Make sure the information you give out are encrypted. To check if it is, see if it includes a URL that begins with “https:” instead of “http:” and a padlock icon. If the padlock is closed, the information is encrypted. Know where the padlock icon is located in your favorite browser because some attackers use fake padlock icons to trick users.
Use your credit card
Credit card charges have laws that limit your liability in case of fraud. This may not be the case for your debit card. Because debit cards draw money directly from your bank account, unauthorized withdrawals could leave you penniless. Needless to say, a record of your purchases should be kept aside. Report immediately any discrepancy.
Shopping online is truly a time-saving, hassle-free, and fun way of buying whatever you want on the Internet. The presence of the ubiquitous cyber criminals stalking at every cyber corner necessitates the need of cyber security as well.
It is everyone’s responsibility. Better safe than sorry.