cyber-security approach, philosophy, business, protection

Tips for shopping online securely

We are close to the festive season of Christmas and if there is one jingle, I have to ring the bell for you is to protect yourself when shopping online. Yes, cyber criminals are not in holiday mode at all during holidays. In fact, it is one of their busiest time of the year because potential victims love offers on the holidays and what a better way to trick them than with fake offers and forgery online shops?

And if you thought that you are a business and this episode is only for individuals then you seriously need to listen to the episode “Your protection circles”.

So, I have a series of tips for you; and that’s every one of you; in order to enjoy your holiday shopping but at the same time remain safe.

You know the old saying: better safe than sorry? Well, let’s address that now and be worry-less.

Today I am introducing to you “your online purchases shopping bible”.

  1. Select the device you use for online shopping carefully
  • If you consider purchasing things from your work computer whether you are an employee or a business owner that is definitely a no no.
  • Does any offer deserve the risk of putting your business out of service or in financial trouble? I didn’t think so
  • If you thought of using a what I call “commute device” in other words a device you do not know, and strangers use for your shopping online well, get ready for identity theft or to the least an empty bank account.
  • Do you really trust putting your card information through a device you do not know and consequently cannot rely on for security?
  • And my absolute favorite; a “contaminated device”. Yes, such things do actually exist. In fact, you will never imagine how many of you out there, own one and you didn’t even notice!
  • Have you ever connected with this device to a public network? Have you traveled with this device? High risk vibes here!

So, you better ask yourself the previous questions before selecting the device from which you are going to purchase staff online at the very least.

2. Select a trusted network for your online shopping

Wi-Fi snob alert! If you do not own the network and you do not protect it at least with the minimum which is a strong password, strict policy of not sharing it with your neighbor cleaning lady and your best friend whose devices are infested from bot-nets then seriously man, you are in real trouble. I mean trouble city is in your yard. So, I shouldn’t even mention purchasing stuff from hotels, coffee shops or airport Wi-Fi. Never the less, VPN always on. Are we clear?

3. Select trusted online shops

I understand the sparkle in your eye when you see that dreamy pair of shoes or electronics you want for months going on flat sale right in front of you and you are not even getting notifications from that shop. It must be destiny because you are just on your social media account or you are just checking your inbox. STOP. I appreciate good offers but before you jump in consider the following:

  • Does the online shop that is making the offer have a good reputation? In other words, is it a well-known brand or a shop making an appearance from the nowhere land?
  • Is it a shop you have purchased stuff from previously?

Want a little help?

cyber-security approach, philosophy, business, protection

4. Beware of the copy cats

One of the best ways cyber-criminals use is to trick you with a shop which looks identical to the shop you know and trust but as always there are ways to work around and get the fancy things you crave without falling into these traps.

  • Never click on a link that landed in your email inbox or social media account or an advertisement online. Just take the time to type the website address by yourself. Do not worry the offer will be there if it is a real one. Even better bookmark the link of your go to online shopping websites for speedy visits.
  • Do you know how to actually find a shop with good reputation? If you just google the name of the shop, then select the first organic result meaning the one result which is first without being on top of the results because it is a paid advertisement.

5. Perform a user security audit

Yes, there are signs for forgery websites or even websites with poor security which can get you into real trouble.

  • Does the website look professional or like a crazy place?
  • Does it have the lock in front of the address bar which means that the address starts with an https instead of an http? SSL certificates are one of the main indicators of poor website protection.
  • Does it have privacy policy, terms of use, purchasing policy and contact details?

6. Inspect their payment options

  • Does it ask you to put your credit or debit card number into the website or does it direct you to another site?
  • Where does it redirect you?
  • Is it a PayPal or another known payment provider website?

I am not saying that purchasing from a website directly is dangerous. Big corporations have their own online shops and they can actually maintain them. Small shops on the other hand cannot do that so it is better to protect their clients by integrating services like PayPal for payments.

7. Have a dedicated card only for online purchases

Never use your main account for payments online. Banks will initiate an investigation in order to return money from scam claims online and most of the time people will not get their money back because banks will not cover your mistakes and dangerous behaviors. They will only pay you back only if it is their fault which is 99.999% only when there is a mass attack and many clients of the bank are affected.

8. Trust your antivirus, it will tell you

Having a good antivirus is a great safety net for shopping online. If the website shows indications of a fake or a dangerous one it will just not allow you to enter.

And let’s finish this episode so that you can get back to your shopping with a tweetable:

Apply what you learn immediately. Download “Master your protection” free quick start guide.

cyber-security approach, philosophy, business, protection

So, that’s it for today. Enjoy your holiday shopping and mostly your families this holiday season I cannot wait to hear your comments so leave them below and if you believe this episode is going to be beneficial for others like it and share it.

Let’s spread protection this holiday season!


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