The City of Sonora's
July, 2013 Vol. 65, Issue 1
How to shop safer and smarter online
Shopping online is now easier than ever. It seems that practically all retailers have some form of an online store ready to show and sell their wares. From PCs to tablets to smart phones, we’re able to kick back and browse in comfort. But this shopping bonanza also presents a productive field of opportunity to cybercriminals.
When you’re ready to buy, cybercriminals may be poised to steal your personal information or your account information. Before you give up on the great deals you have found on online, here are some tips for online shopping to help keep you (and your finances) safe when you click the buy button.
Make sure the online checkout is secure – When you add an item to an online store’s checkout, you should be taken to a secure page. This allows you to enter your payment information with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption. You can find this in the site’s web address. Look for “https” at the beginning of the URL. This is the same encryption that many banks use. You can also check for verification by clicking on a security certification seal, like the Norton Secured Seal. These certificates are more than just images; they allow you to click on them and verify the site’s security in real time.
Be wary of unknown sites – Amazon and other high-profile ecommerce sites know the value of ensuring their site security for their valued customer. They also have the funding to insure their site maintenance remains safe. Anyone can set up an Internet site today, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe and secure.
If you’re thinking about buying from an unknown retailer, do a sanity check first. Search for reviews on the retailer. Are there any? Are they positive? If so, look for the security signs we discussed above. If you see none, it could be the site’s designer doesn’t know what he’s doing (someone’s 12-year-old nephew, perhaps?). Or worse—it’s a cybercriminal who knows exactly what they are doing. Either way, point your browser elsewhere—fast.
Keep your antivirus software up to date – What does malware have to do with online shopping? Maybe plenty if you’re infected with a “key-logger.” This insidious software can record every keystroke and secretly send back information to the cybercriminals who made it. This includes any credit card or other payment information you’ve tapped out into the most secure shopping sites.
Can a secure site prevent this from happening? No. The malware is on your computer. Make sure you have the active security installed to detect it, or better yet, prevent it from being installed in the first place.
Want to help ensure you stay safe online? Norton™ Internet Security is one of many companies that offer several layers of defense to prevent cybercriminals from infecting your PC with malware or luring you and your credit card into an unsafe site. These safeguards help keep you and your family secure while you’re shopping online or just enjoying the Internet.
Do your homework and decide which company offers the best program for you and your family’s needs. Also, know what your family’s needs are when it comes to internet safety and security. This will help you make a more educated decision when selecting what internet safety features you want to purchase.
The above information is brought to you by the Sonora Police Department and Norton. If you should have any questions regarding internet safety, please call the Sonora Police Department at 532-8141.
Mark Stinson, Chief of Police (COP)