Holidays are here again and its that time of the year where everyone will rush to get the discounted prices and goodies which come with holiday shopping. Most importantly, most of this shopping will be done online. Predictions have it that there will be more online sales as everyone is scouring the internet for websites with best deals.
This is also another fine opportunity for hackers, attackers, and other online vulnerability to do shopping too; but which involves stealing user data and information.
The drive to online shopping has been increasing ever since the introduction of e-commerce. Here are some forces behind the drive.
- Variety of products, you don’t have to move from one store to another to find your specific brand or preference.
- Online stores have quality products
- You can get different unique products and even exceed your expectation since all products are at one place.
- Easy search and suggestions. Shopping online gives easy search options; you also get to know what other users are buying. Furthermore, online shopping gives you the ability to read reviews and find out what other people say about a certain You will actually know if it’s good or bad from the reviews.
- The best of them all is the delivery. Most online retailers will offer free delivery of your products based on some condition. The commonly used is the location, shoppers of certain locations such as a CBD may get their products for free or for a certain amount of fees which is insignificant compared to what you have bought.
However, before you ditch your local store and start enjoying what online shopping has to offer, there are some security checks and tips you should know to protect yourself against vulnerabilities.
Use malware free devices
Before you enter your login details at your favorite online shopping websites, ensure the device you use, i.e., your smartphone or laptop is free of malware and other virus infections. To ensure that your devices are clean, get a reputable antivirus and antimalware software and perform scans to find whether there are any infections on your machine. To keep out vulnerabilities, update the system software and its programs. This patches vulnerability that might be exploited. Although all computers have a firewall, check it also to ensure if the rules are correctly set and ensure traffic is allowed or blocked as it is supposed to be. Check your computer settings too and ensure that updates are allowed automatically.
Use secure logins
Like any other account, your shopping account is crucial; it has almost all of your information including your living/house address. This information should be fortified by using strong authentications such as strong passwords, passcodes, biometrics and even one-time codes if they are provided by the shopping platforms. Since most shopping sites use passwords, ensure you have the strongest passwords which is at least 12 characters long. Also, don’t use your other accounts password as they can be compromised if one account is hacked. You don’t have to cram complex passwords as you can use a password manager, you will only need to cram one complex master password.
It is recommended to have a separate bank account credits for your online shopping needs. You can set up also accounts for your kids and limit what they can order online. You can as well buy gift cards and vouchers and use them instead.
Do proper research
If you haven’t experienced online shopping, there’s one problem that new users fail to solve; what is the best site? Many online shopping sites have been put up, and they offer enticing offers. But before you decide on which site you’ll like to purchase your goods, read through user reviews. Many positive reviews indicate the site is great and negative reviews should tell you not to register an account. Scammers may also send you emails disguised as the best online shopping sites with many eye-catching unsuspicious details. When it comes to emails, if its spam, don’t even bother, and when in doubt, discard it or do further research.
Value your money and information
When doing online shopping, some information is critical in order to facilitate the shopping. Other sites go an extra mile and ask for more information, although not required. When filling the sign-up form, give out the necessary critical information only. Leave optional fields blank if you feel like the information requested is intrusive. Most of this info is used for tracking and targeting you with specialized ads which are not necessary. If your account gets compromised, an attacker may have a lot of info about you, and that’s isn’t good.
Use a secure connection
Online shopping involves the internet. There are many forms to access it, and most people prefer WIFI and Hotspots. These two modes are also where attackers and hackers are waiting to steal your information. So before connecting to a wireless WIFI especially those in public places, ensure you have the required security mechanisms to protect your information. The simplest one is to use a VPN. A VPN will secure your information by encrypting your traffic. With a VPN it will be hard for prying eyes to steal your data and credentials. Additionally, check if you are accessing the right website when you are connected to a public WIFI. Hackers may spoof the network and put up a fake website disguised as the legit one, and you might end up giving all your credentials.
When buying devices online such as laptops, remember to also buy their accessories such as auxiliary devices and even software such as antiviruses, editing programs. Buying all these will lower your chances of downloading the cracked software, and you may end up getting higher discounts, it’s a win-win.
A good VPN will not only protect you but also it will enable you to unlock new possibilities. You can also purchase geo-restricted services such as renting movies. Some movies are discounted highly in specific locales. A VPN will enable you to access them with a click and selecting an appropriate server.