It’s always fun to go to Amazon or an AFL online store to get something you need or really want. But with news rife with news about hacking, cyber terrorism and compromised tech security, it might make you feel like giving up on the Internet.
Let’s be honest, though, the Internet’s very useful, and it’d be extremely difficult if not outright impossible to live without it. But the risks of using it are just part of the experience of, well, using it, and you can take some steps to keep yourself safe even as you browse for something new.
Here’s some of them.
Listen to your gut
Just like how you wouldn’t shop in a store that you don’t know and feels off, don’t shop at online stores that give you a bad feeling. If, at any time during the shopping or checkout process, you think the site asks for too much, just cut your losses and go. A wasted sale is only a minor setback, but if someone got your credit card information, then that’s a world of hurt coming your way. If the site looks old, has a strange address or has way too many pop-ups then avoid it.
Take extra care when using mobile devices
Smartphones are powerful, and can do most of the things that a computer can. However, that doesn’t mean they’re as safe, as most phones don’t have anti-malware software, unlike computers. That means that they’re more vulnerable to intrusions. Shorter, phone-friendly URLs can trick you into visiting a site that isn’t exactly safe, and, of course, there’s always a chance that your phone will get stolen, making it a good idea to put a password on it.
Don’t use the public Wi-Fi for shopping
Public networks, like Wi-Fi hotspots, don’t encrypt any data that passes through them. That means if you use your credit card for a purchase in an AFL online store, then any decent hacker can just get your information with the right tools. The same idea applies to cell phones. Remember, be aware when you’re using a hotspot; any information that you send through the Internet can be picked up. If you’re going to handle information that can make you vulnerable, then use a protected network.
Look for HTTPS
The internet’s got a lot of acronyms, but when you’re looking to shop at an AFL online store, then there’s one acronym you want to see: HTTPS. HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. As the name implies, info that go through sites that have HTTPS are secure, as they encrypt all data in order to ensure that only the intended recipient can see it.