Seated comfortably in your office chair with your cup of coffee in the one hand and your mouse in the other - it's amazing how convenient the click of a button can be for Internet banking and grocery shopping.
But many of us still ask how secure are my online transactions? Are my personal details protected? Is it safe to use my credit card on this site?
There is no reason why you should be afraid of transacting online. However, you should be vigilant and make security a priority. In doing so, you will eliminate the threats of cyber crime and enjoy a safe online environment.
So let's examine some of these criminal online motivated threats to ensure you can correctly identify potential cyber attacks and be vigilant to these. Possessing knowledge of these threats coupled with a trusted security software protection on your PC and of course visiting trusted and secure Web sites (particularly when purchasing goods) will ensure that you do not become a victim of cyber crime.
Some of the most common cyber threats include identity theft, fraud, hacking and viruses. There are certain actions to help you maintain your online security and recognise, avoid and report criminal online activity, which include:
1.Do use a secure browser to help guard the security of your information as it is transmitted to a Web site.
2. Do choose complicated passwords and not the normal birthdays or pet names. Change your passwords regularly.
4. Do have a look at disclosures around the Web site's refund and shipping policies before purchasing items.
5. Do contact the company when you're not sure about their terms and conditions.
6. Do install an effective anti-virus software program.
7. Do update your software regularly.
8. Do activate a firewall and make sure it is active at all times when transacting.
9. Do keep record of all your online transactions.
10. Do review your monthly credit card and bank statements to spot errors or unauthorised purchases.
11. Do trust your common sense and rather be safe than sorry.
12. Do report problems immediately to the company on whose site you are transacting on!
And now for the Don'ts:
1. Don't select the option on Web browsers for saving or remembering user names and passwords.
2. Don't do transactions like banking on a computer you're not familiar with (such as computers at Internet café). Strangers use those computers and may download software that can be harmful to the next user.
3. Don't disclose personal information, which includes: telephone number, bank details and physical address, unless you know who is collecting the information, why they are collecting it and how they will use it
4.Don't give payment information to businesses you don't know or trust. Only provide such information when appropriate - like an order form for instance
5. Don't give you password or payment information to anyone online - not even your Internet Service Provider.
6. Don't download files sent to you by strangers or open hyperlink from people you do not know. Opening such a file could expose your system to a computer virus or a program that could hijack your modem
7. Don't open junk mail (usually described as any e-mail received where you are not sure of the source/origin) or unsubscribe to it. Rather delete it immediately. On this point it is very important to note that cyber criminals use many ploys with junk mail intended to lure you (or children) to open the mail so it might have 'too good to be true' promotions etc - just delete these mails!
These may seem like many things to remember, but being vigilant could save you from having your personal details stolen and used to open fake clothing accounts or for even money laundering. When you look at it that way, taking heed of and implementing security steps is really not that much of a mission at all.