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Cyber Security and Online Shopping
With the popularity of online shopping today, the importance of
cyber security becomes essential to everyone. Shopping, even
in the real world, involves money and where there is money,
there go the criminals. And since much shopping is now
happening in cyber space, these criminals lost no time in
following the money trail targeting online shoppers.
Online shopping became fashionable when people discovered
one is free from stress and fatigue caused by crowds and
traffic. There is also the convenience of searching whatever it
is you want from your home, at your most convenient time, and
paying for it without waiting in line. All of these 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, fraudulently
obtaining information they can use for their own financial
gains. These criminals use the three most common ways in
attacking the online shoppers.
Unprotected computers are easy target for viruses and other
malicious codes used by cyber criminals 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, a site (or an online store) 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:
As always, passwords and other security features add
before giving out personal or financial information. You have to
understand how your information are stored and used.
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.
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