Online transactions are no longer an option but a way of life for almost everyone who uses a computer or a smartphone. With the e-commerce boom and rapid digitization, we are highly accustomed to the speed and convenience that comes with it. Yet, one must bear in mind that anything transmitted over the internet remains susceptible to unauthorized access.
The very fact that over 86% of all cybercrime is financially motivated explains why internet users must be wary of potential threats and plan appropriate security measures.
Therefore, we decided to discuss nine effective ways to help you keep your online transactions secure.
1. Avoid Public WiFi
Have you been using the free public WiFi at your favorite cafeteria to watch videos while munching on your donuts? Or killing time at the airport browsing through random websites while waiting for your flight to arrive? Sounds good, but when it comes to using public WiFi connections, you need to know where to stop.
While casual browsing and streaming might be okay, using the same public WiFi to make online transactions could prove to be fatal. It does not matter whether you are using it at an airport, subway station, public park, or a restaurant that offers free WiFi. None of these connections are under your control and must therefore be avoided.
To realize the gravity of this issue, you need first to understand how the internet works. When you enter any data on a website or an app, the data moves between your device and the web server on which the website or application is hosted. If this transmission takes place via outdated protocols like HTTP, it can be easily intercepted and reused.
When you enter the login credentials, it remains susceptible to interception if it isn’t encrypted with an advanced encryption protocol. As most public WiFis make use of outdated encryption protocols, network-related attacks are expected. Therefore, using these connections to make online transactions could be disastrous.
- Never make online transactions when connected to public WiFi.
- Avoid logging into password-protected websites while using public WiFi.
2. Set Strong and Complex Passwords
The most robust password you can set would look something like a cat ran over your keyboard. Yes, one that is long, random, and makes absolutely no sense. Such passwords may be hard to remember but are ideal for transaction security because brute force attempts will not crack them. However, users must memorize those complex passwords and avoid storing them electronically.
Tips for Safe Transactions
- Avoid storing passwords of your financial accounts on password managers.
- Use a password that is over 12 characters long and uses mixed cases, numbers, and special characters.
- Always opt for multi-factor authentication for an additional layer of security.
3. Apply SSL the Right Way
If you use a mail server or have a website, start using an SSL to encrypt client-server communication to ensure better online security. Small businesses that offer online payments tend to use a domain-validated SSL certificate despite having a separate subdomain for the payments section. Suppose that sounds like you, make sure to buy wildcard SSL certificate from CheapSSLShop to encrypt your primary domain and its first-level subdomains. Else, a part of your website would continue to remain vulnerable to attacks.
You can check SSL Certificate by right-clicking on the green padlock in the URL bar and then clicking on ‘Certificate,’ which displays issuing authority, certified entity, level of validation performed, and much more.
4. Keep your OS up to date
An outdated operating system is a hacker’s dream because it is easy to exploit existing vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access. It opens the floodgates to ransomware attacks, data breaches, and malware attacks which can cause a great deal of inconvenience.
To prevent this, the development teams of Operating systems release security patches and other fixes through updates which must be promptly installed. It would help if you did that for your PC, mobile devices, and all other devices connected to the internet. So, the next time you receive an alert to update your device’s OS, make sure to do that immediately. Unless your operating system is up to date, you cannot make secure transactions from that device.
5. Run an advanced anti-malware protection
Antivirus applications are great to combat viruses, but when you use an advanced anti-malware protection application, your system is protected from viruses, trojans, worms, rootkits, adware, etc. It gives you 360-degree protection while connected to the internet, which is essential to make secure transactions.
6. Use credit cards for online shopping
Online shopping is now a way of life, but you must know that your choice of payment method determines how safe you are. Most experts recommend using credit cards because those come with a limit beyond which one cannot transact. Also, it comes with fraud protection, so you still have a chance to recover the losses. That is not the case with a debit card which directly deducts funds from your accounts. Either way, consider using multi-factor authentication, which most banks have now made mandatory.
- Set a card limit.
- Make use of multi-factor authentication.
- Avoid saving your card details on e-commerce websites.
7. Stick to reputed websites only
The internet is full of scammers trying to make a quick buck, so make it a point to stay away from unreliable and spammy websites. You should have a click in mind that “is this website legit” before proceeding. There are certain measures to check the website’s authenticity.
8. Smart Scanning for Vulnerabilities
If you have a website or an application, make sure to detect vulnerabilities using smart scanning. This helps detect the loopholes which cybercriminals can exploit and helps fix those. Doing this bolsters the website’s cybersecurity posture and keeps visitors and customers safe.
9. Limit Access to Sensitive Information
Quite often, businesses use a file on the team’s shared folder to store financial details. The same goes for the IT team and how they keep backend login credentials and encryption keys. If such sensitive data falls into the wrong hands, it can wreak havoc for the business. Therefore, businesses must make it a point to segregate their data and limit access to it.
Cybercrime is at its peak, with most attempts being financially motivated, making it extremely difficult to execute secure transactions. Therefore, we have discussed some of the most common attack vectors and what you can do to eliminate those.
However, none of the nine measures discussed above are optional. If you genuinely wish to process safe transactions, you will have to implement all the nine security measures discussed above.