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So much of everyday life now is conducted online, which is a good thing for many of us as it can be quicker and more convenient. There are downsides to it as well though, as the online world presents plenty of dangers and threats.
The risks range from viruses that can stop your computer from functioning properly to malware and other sophisticated forms of cyber-crime designed to steal your money or personal information. Virus protection will guard against the former, but how can you protect your online transactions? Read our tips for doing just that.
- Stick With Established Websites
The internet is often described as being like the Wild West, due to the fact that it is much less regulated than the physical world. That can be exciting in some ways, but it also means the risks are greater – especially when you are transacting online.
The best way that you can avoid being scammed when submitting personal or financial details – or actual hard cash – is to only use well established reputable sites. One example of this is PayPal, which has built a reputation for secure and safe online financial transactions over many years.
If you are taking part in gambling for money online, you should study the payment options on the site in detail before signing up to it. There are plenty of trusted online casinos on the internet, so you do not need to take any chances.
- Ensure That the Connection Is Secure
Not every website that you visit will be a secure one and the risks of using ones that are not for transactions are a lot higher. Fortunately, you do not have to be an expert to know the difference, as there is a simple way of telling whether it is a secure connection or not.
The URL or web address for a secure site will start with https://, whereas if the site is unsecured it will start with http://. Only carrying out online transactions using sites with an https:// address will help to keep your money and data safe.
The icon of a padlock that sometimes appears ahead of the URL in the address bar is another indicator that the site is a secure one.
- Keep Your Computer Updated
Anyone who uses a Windows PC will know that there are a lot of updates! It can sometimes be frustrating, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore them, as they are usually designed to keep your computer secure.
If you have updates pending on your computer, make sure that you install them before carrying out any transactions. Cyber fraudsters are always coming up with ways of exploiting security loopholes, so you need the latest updates.
These updates create hard walls that seal off gaps in your computer security that the scammers target. Take a look at the ‘updates’ section under the ‘settings’ function to check if there are any uninstalled ones before purchasing anything online.
- Check For Existing Security Issues
A lot of the malware that scammers use to hack your personal or bank information during online transactions exploits weaknesses in either the browser or your operating system. There is an available tool for optimizing your internet security called System Mechanic that will find any such weaknesses and repair them.
You could also consider paying for the latest anti-malware software and installing it on your computer. You may think that you don’t want to deal with the expense of that, but the cost if you have sensitive data stolen during a transaction will be a whole lot higher!
- Pick Your Web Browser Carefully
There is no shortage of different web browsers available, but the best one changes over time. After all – at one point everyone used Internet Explorer, but that is obsolete and a serious security risk now.
Firefox and Google Chrome are the two most widely used browsers in 2022, but it is Firefox that the experts in online security rate as the best and safest choice. One reason for this is that it offers enhanced security tracking as a built-in feature, plus its Facebook Container function that erases all cookies from that site whenever you log out of it.
Google Chrome was hacked four years ago, and millions of people had sensitive data stolen. Firefox is protected against that and also collects less of this information than its rival to begin with during digital transactions.
- Avoid Public Computers for Transactions
If you are carrying out a transaction online, you should never do so using a computer in a café, library, airport, or other public place. The widely available public Wi-Fi connections in these spots are a prime target for people looking to commit cyber crime.
That is not to say that the computers on offer at these places can never be used. It just means that you should restrict your use of them to times when you will not need to enter any of your passwords or personal and financial details, as you have to when buying something online.
It is not possible to eliminate all of the risks involved in online transactions. Just as in the physical world, there will always be people looking to steal money. If you follow these tips, you can reduce the chances of being a victim of them though.