Every year, along with the rapid advancements in technology, cybersecurity threats are evolving and taking new shapes and form. The Symantec 2018 Internet Security Threat Report found that this year it is crypto jacking which has skyrocketed. Studies estimate the growth of crypto jacking attacks to have increased by 8500%.
On a smaller scale, but as big as 54%, mobile malware is also on the rise. Mobile devices, if affected with malware can leak sensitive information like the device phone number, incoming and outgoing messages, call recording and much more.
Rest assured, Internet safety is not something that can be taken for granted anymore. One needs to establish it voluntarily. If you are someone who uses the Internet regularly for online transactions, be it for buying stuff, bank transactions or for paying utility bills, practicing some amount of safety will save you a lot of pain.
Here are 7 tips that will help you conduct safe online transactions:
1. Be in the know of latest scams
Black Friday and Cyber Monday just got over. Did you know that a number of scams were also doing their rounds along with the blockbuster offers? These scams trick customers into paying for 99% discount offers, submit personal information and so on that risk their online safety. If an offer seems to good to be true, most often it could be a scam don’t try to save few dollars and end up losing hundreds or thousands of them to scammers.
2. Avoid public Wi-Fi and computers
Being connected wherever you go can be a temptation that is too hard to resist. Especially when there is a great offer that might run out of time before you reach the safety of your home. Before you sign in through a public Wifi or an Internet cafe system, think whether it is worth the risk. Public wifi can be easily intercepted by hackers. All information that passes through it can be captured without your knowledge.
The same goes for public computers too. They may not adequately be secured with anti-virus software and encryption systems. Furthermore, chances are that these systems could also be riddled with malware, botware, virus, worms and so on that can feast on your data.
3. Identify your banker/seller with SSL Certificate
The website that you think is the real may not be the real website belonging to the business. It could be a fake one. Cybersecurity criminals have become so adept at programming and website building, that they are creating exact fake websites that look and feel the same as their original counterparts. If you visit any such fake website, chances are that you will end up suffering losses at the hands of a fraud.
To ensure that you are dealing with a legit website, check for the HTTPS URL and the padlock symbol. Steve Ginty, senior product manager at RiskIQ, says to check that the website has a valid “HTTPS” connection with a lock symbol, not “HTTP,” which is vulnerable to attacks. Even an SSL certificate can secure the website and give it a green address bar and padlock symbol. They are signs that the website is properly encrypted and insulated from any form of data eavesdropping. EV SSL Certificate is best for e-commerce website because it provides the highest level of security against hackers.
4. Know to recognize phishing emails from the rest
The Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report states that 30% of target users open dangerous phishing emails. Phishing has infiltrated almost every industry and businesses function that there seems to be no respite from it.
There is no proven way to beat phishing emails other than learning how to spot a phishing mail from a genuine one. The constant trait of a phishing mail is that they have suspicious links or redirects that do not feel at home for a genuine mail.
For instance, if you are using a banking service, the link may not have the usual bank’s URL, might have a spelling mistake or have a similar inconsistency. Such inconsistencies increase the chances of such a mail being a phishing mail.
If you spot a phishing mail or have doubts about its genuine, simply skip it and resort to the service provider directly for assistance.
5. Use two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible
Two-factor authentication is a double-layered entry process. It requires the user to give an extra token that is generated real-time in addition to a password to gain access to the system.
For example, to access your email id, you have to enter the password and also a 2FA one-time password that is created in real-time. The OTP can be created using an authenticator app or may be sent by the service provider for each transaction. 2FA prevents the misuse of your account by anyone who knows your password.
6. DO NOT share sensitive information with anyone
The most basic online safety measure is to keep your private details private. Don’t share your passwords. If you do, make sure it is with people who have joint ownership to the bank account. Do not write down the password anywhere where it can fall in the hands of wrongdoers.
Also, refrain from sharing one time passwords, credit/debit card numbers and so on over the phone. Even if the call is from the customer care center of your bank, there is no need to mention your card numbers. The same applies to online banking passwords as well.
7. Make it a habit to check your statements regularly
All your account charges, debits, and credits will reflect in the bank statement. There is no amiss to that. So, keeping a tab on all the debits and credits that your account gets is the first line of defense to ensuring online safety.
Make it a habit to check your account statements every week or fortnightly. And, when you stumble across any unusual charges or debit, don’t waste time to reach out to the bank to resolve it immediately.
In a nutshell
Charity begins at home. Personal online safety begins with you. There is no one who can help safeguard your online transactions as you do. Sometimes the basic security measures can thwart the most common type of security mishaps. These 7 tips will help you run safe online transactions.