Online shopping safety is a growing concern among both e-retailers and shoppers. When you get online and shop, here's how to make sure you’re protected from hackers and scams:

1. Buy from a mobile device, not from PC

Use the dedicated vendor mobile apps. Apps are more secure online shopping channels than websites since malicious hackers need to create specific attacks for specific apps.

2. Don’t keep too much information on your smartphone

These days, everybody stores a lot of important personal information on their phone, and most of us rarely take the time to secure them. Fake online shops can infect your smartphone with malware, and then have access to information such as phone numbers, notes, photos, and even app contents. For this reason, we recommend you keep as little information as possible on your phone, and do not save your password in your online apps.

3. Stay safe using secure connections

Some people think Wi-Fi is a more important resource than water or food. However, Wi-Fi however has some serious limitations in terms of security. Unsecured connections allow a hacker to intercept ALL of your traffic and see everything you’re doing on an online shop in real time. This means checkout information, passwords, emails, addresses, you name it. A densely-crowded bar with dozens of devices connected to the same Wi-Fi hotspot is a prime target for an enterprising cybercriminal who wants to blend in and go unnoticed. You should also never buy things online from an open Wi-Fi network with no password, no matter how few people are connected to it. It’s simply not worth the risk.

4. Keep your online account secure with a unique password

Most people simply reuse the same password for each shopping account. Change that bad habit and change your online account passwords. If you do a lot of online shopping, check out a password manager like LastPass that will greatly simplify and secure your login process.

5. Enable two-factor login for your online account

Add an additional layer of security to your account. After you enter your password, a 6-digit text pin is sent to your phone for something you know and something you have. Then hackers can’t try to guess your password and you can select an option to not require the second step for a desktop computer you use regularly.

6. Update your PC browser, antivirus and operating system.

Unpatched software is a frequent cause of malware infections. Online shoppers are most at risk because of this oversight, due to the sensitive information involved. Make sure you at least have an updated browser when you order things online. This will help secure your cookies and cache, while preventing a data leakage.

7. Do not purchase from spam or phishing emails

Having the right security programs will go a long way in improving your safety when buying things online. But what will really take your internet shopping to the next security level is a good understanding of cybersecurity threats combined with a few common sense rules on what you should and should not do online:

• Don’t click on any suspicious links or emails

• Report any site that seems fraudulent, and use the “flag as spam” button for any suspicious email

• Don’t reveal more personal information than you must in order to complete the purchase

Article courtesy: Kevin Fream, cybersecurity expert and #1 best-selling author of “Easy Prey”.

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