We’ve all been there – the temptation to simply buy things online is a difficult one to fight. For most, it’s a no-brainer; you do not need to move a muscle and you still have the world at your fingertips. Despite how enticing that new watch you always wanted being right on your screen is, like any online activity, online shopping can expose customers to cyber criminals. After all, it’s a perfect set-up, with your bank details readily available.
So what can you do to protect yourself from these threats?
Be wary of your device
When considering sending out or receiving sensitive information, such as bank details, you should never use a device which does not belong to you. Friends devices, business devices, however convenient, prioritise the integrity of your data and it might just save you from a disaster.
Do not wait until a data breach happens to learn your lesson!
When you are using your own device, do not let your guard down either. Ensure all the latest updates have been installed. Often updates contain new security features, which are in line with safety threats.
Be wary of your connection
In the same way that you should not use unsecured devices, never use unsecured connections. This includes public Wi-Fi and definitely your local Starbucks Wi-Fi. These networks can be intercepted by anyone, it is not worth the risk.
As of 2018, 85% of retail shopping has been done online.
Be wary of where you shop
The third layer of cautiousness you need to apply to your online shopping venture is that by which the actual site used to shop is carefully chosen. When using a site, it is best to stick to those which you have used before. Otherwise try to find websites with good customer reviews.
Something worth looking out for while browsing is the padlock symbol in the address bar. This means the connection between your device and the site is encrypted. While this does not necessarily mean the person receiving the information is legitimate (dependant on the website), it means sensitive data cannot be read if intercepted.
If possible, use a credit card when purchasing online. Despite the many disadvantages of using a credit card, it has its perks when shopping online specifically. Most major credit card companies insure online purchases. This is a safety net you might want to have in place.
Once the deed has been done
According to surveys, retailers biggest concerns are phishing attacks.
69% of retailers noted phishing as a concern.
These are going to be a lot more likely after your purchases, upon entering personal details into the site. Spear Phishing is particularly dangerous due to how targeted it is. Cyber criminals send emails impersonating favourite retailers in order to fool unsuspecting customers. Stay aware when receiving emails especially when the address doesn’t look quite right.
Find out more about m3 Networks, our cyber security services, and our first class customer service (we can prove it!) here.