Cybersecurity solutions company Kaspersky calls for more vigilance in securing accounts when shopping online. It warns the public to be wary of scammers and fraudsters who may obtain access to their accounts.
Here are some simple tips to help protect your data and money when shopping online.
1. Use strong passwords
Sure, hardly anyone brute-forces passwords these days by entering them one by one. But even with modern methods of cracking, shorter and less complex passwords are more vulnerable. So, the rule still stands: the longer your combination is, the less likely cybercriminals will grab it. We advise using at least 10 characters — even for accounts of little importance. And for accounts you really care about, better to make the password twice as long.
Kaspersky shares 10 tips for safe online shopping
Kaspersky shares tips on what to do in the event of data breach
Another dangerous habit is using the same passwords for multiple sites. Having grabbed the credentials for one account, cybercriminals are unlikely to stop there and will try to log in to other services with the stolen username and password.
You can devise your own password creation system, or use a password generator to come up with strong random combinations. And so as not to forget them, you can store your credentials in a password manager, which also includes a password generator as a rule.
2. Use a VPN to connect to public networks
A secure connection encrypts all traffic and therefore prevents attackers from intercepting your login credentials and payment details. Check here for how to choose the best VPN app.
3. Don’t link bank cards to online shopping accounts
Most of all, attackers love stealing accounts that are rarely used — this way their actions go unnoticed for longer. Therefore, it’s worth linking a bank card only to online stores that you regularly visit, and making sure that your account is not hijacked and that no suspicious transactions appear in your purchase history.
In other cases, it’s safer to decline the “remember card” option and enter the numbers manually. That way, you’ll be less likely to lose money through a long-abandoned account with, let’s say, some online pet store where you once bought hamster food.
4. If possible, pay with payment services
Payment services, such as Google Play or PayPal, store your data in an encrypted form on secure servers. The merchant you buy from receives only the virtual account number assigned to the card by the service. Because your card data is not seen by the merchant, this keeps your finances safer from unscrupulous sellers, data leaks from the site, and data interception during transmission over the internet.
5. Get a separate card for online shopping
Get a separate card for online purchases and keep minimal funds on it. Even if attackers find out the details of this card, they still won’t get their hands on your main money source. It’s best to top up the card immediately before making a purchase and only by the amount you intend to spend.
6. Keep track of your payment history
Set up transaction notifications and check your payment history regularly. If you spot something suspicious, call your bank immediately. Any unexpected debit, even of a tiny amount, should ring an alarm bell, because it may be scammers floating a trial balloon, or the first automatic payment for a subscription you didn’t ask for.
7. Use reliable protection
These simple rules to protect your data and money will make your online shopping experience safe and secure. To avoid cybercriminal tricks, read our post on how to spot scammers online. And use a reliable security solution that automatically detects and blocks phishing sites.