Every now and then, we keep hearing about a new online security hack being discovered and while the world is moving towards complete digitisation, it is also true that there is a long way ahead of us, when it comes to optimum online security. That said, online transactions is one area where most cyber attacks are focused and while, we as consumers, have made online transactions popular since they make life much easier with several options it offers, it is also true that everything in life comes with a risk and with online transactions, it’s bigger than we think.
The online economy is nothing but billions of dollars being exchanged almost every single day, moreover, online transactions/shopping has resulted in lower prices, unmatched ease of buying as well as incredibly diverse choices for consumers. Being confident due to the millions of transactions taking place, many of us regularly shop and bank online with any second thought. From ordering pizzas to literally buying a house and from transferring money to booking tickets online, these online transactions are the need of the hour which is also looking to practically eliminate the worry of standing in a queue or waiting, to say the least.
However, as unfortunate as it might sound, online fraud and identity theft sort of come complimentary with the popularity and ease of online transactions, thanks to clever cyber thieves as well as sloppy consumers with precarious Internet shopping habits.
When it comes to ‘how to secure your online transactions’, while there is no guarantee that you will always be safe from a cyber threat including viruses, hackers, malware and other scams, it’s more of a habitual change that you need. On that note, here we are listing six tips that you can follow to secure your online transactions.
Tips for secure online transactions
1. Choose your password wisely: While choosing a password, strictly follow the given instructions by banks, mutual funds, etc for choosing the same while making an online transaction (keep it complex and change it regularly). Also using anniversaries or names and a date of birth, of people who are close to you is strictly discouraged since all this could easily be guessed. Moreover, neither share a password with an outsider nor communicate it via social media.
2. Avoid phishing emails: Always Be careful about emails asking about your personal/confidential financial information. The government, SEBI, RBI or even any other regulated entities never ask for password or card numbers.
3. Beware of public Wi-Fi: Never ever resort to making an online transaction from a cyber cafe or through a public Wi-Fi or a shared system. Always prefer your home computer and also install adequate firewalls and anti-virus software. It’s also a good habit to keep your computers/laptops updated with new security patches and operating systems, always.
4. Secure Socket Layer (SSL): Always check for Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or https security on the login page of any particular bank’s website. Here, the ‘s’ after the ‘http’ indicates that a particular site is secure. Similarly, look for identity verified-signs as well as SSL security of an online shopping portal in order to protect your debit/credit card number along with your personal information. Also, check for the padlock icon in the browser window.
5. Autocomplete: Always disable Autocomplete/Password storage in your browser since they have a tendency to keep caches of sites you visit, and on prompting, could offer to save passwords for you. However, if you opt for this, you will have to enter all the passwords and URLs every time to come online, but the inconvenience is worth it as your data will be safe in case of a data theft attempt or if your system gets stolen.
6. Web browser privacy mode: This is said to be the best tool in order to keep your online transactions safe, moreover, every new browser comes with this feature. This option sets up a separate browser window that deletes all the data on the moment a particular browser window is closed while clearing caches as well as keeping your private data out of public domain.