Keep your wits about you while shopping online
by Jacqui Bell | January 29, 2021
This week, in conjunction with the IASME Consortium, we're asking you to think about your security while making online purchases. With more of us online more than ever as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic, whether socialising over Zoom or shopping, we must always be mindful to keep our details secure.
Don't be a victim to an online scam
Criminals are taking advantage of the explosion in internet retail, a trend which is set to increase. Cyber attacks are more sophisticated and use a range of techniques and scams to take your money, credit card details, user names, passwords and your name and address. Armed with such information, criminals can for example, make purchases in your name, empty your bank account and even apply for loans.
Essential tips to stay safe
Here are some key points you should develop into good habits.
Check the website you're using is secure
- Secure websites will show a closed padlock and begin https://
Watch out for fake websites
- Check for typos in the web address and text
- Are the images in focus or slightly pixelated?
- Does the bargain seem too good to be true? If so, it probably is...
Use a credit card for online shopping
- Credit card companies offer an extra layer of protection with anti-fraud measures to detect unusual purchases
- They may well refund you (& promptly) if you are a victim
Don't shop while using public wi-fi
- Unsecured public networks are easy to hack into, leaving you open to criminals stealing your data
Beware of phishing emails and social media scams
Fraudulent emails and links often start on social media and are sadly now very common.
- Do not click on links unless you are 100% certain they are genuine
- Messages claiming to be from well-known retailers, banks, PayPal offering bargains, prizes or informing you your account has been frozen will use a fake authentication process to steal your data
- If it doesn't feel right, delete the message without clicking on it
Use strong passwords
Cyber criminals use sophisticated programs to guess passwords, so make yours strong.
- Do not use personal details such as names, dates of birth
- Use 3 random and unconnected words, rather than a single word, or some initials that are meaningful to you
- Use a mix of upper & lower case, numbers and symbols
- Use a different password for each site - if 1 password is hacked, the rest are safe
- Make your life easier with password manager software
What other action can I take?
Businesses of all sizes are at particular risk of cyber-crime and would benefit from working towards Cyber Essentials, a Government approved scheme. By implementing just five core controls that protect against most cyber-attacks, you can ensure you are on the right track as well as demonstrating to your customers and suppliers that you are serious about cyber security.
Interested, concerned? Then contact our Chief Information Security Officer, Jo Austin, who specialises in cyber security and can advise you appropriately.
Clumber Consultancy is an IASME Certification Body, offering a suite of cyber security solutions.