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How Do You Securely Conduct Online Transactions
November 16, 2017
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When you start working for a security company, it's easy to get so afraid of doing anything online for fear of being watched, robbed and what not, that for the first few months you simply stop doing any online transaction, stare obsessively at your webcam wondering if it's been hacked and look for that green lock on all the websites you visit. As you may have already guessed, this was me until a few weeks ago.

I had stopped doing any online transactions and began to pretend that I was living in the late 90s way before the inte et became such an important part of our lives.

But as it does, life caught up with me and now I know I can't pretend that the inte et doesn't exist (especially since I'm a digital marketing professional). So what do you do to make sure your online transactions are secure?

Well there is no simple answer to this. At the crux of it, you simply need to incorporate cybersecurity into your digital habits. So here are are a few things that can take you closer to making sure your transactions are as secure as possible.

Make Sure The Website Has A Security Certificate

Valid certificates not only encrypt your transactions, they let you know the website is really owned by the entity it purports to be, since the certificate authority has validated the host’s credentials, giving their “stamp” of approval in the certificate, usually for a fixed timeframe of about two years. When you see an https prefix in the URL field of your browser, along with a lock icon, often with the link also colored green, you can generally have faith that the site provides proper security and encryption, enforced by the certificate.

Use OTP during transactions

During online transactions made using a credit or debit card, banks ask users to enter their 3D secure PIN (personal identification number) or request for an OTP (one-time password). Using the latter will prompt the bank to send a six-digit number through a text message on the user’s registered mobile number. This is a unique number and is generated only for one transaction. Use this option, especially if you are on a network that's new. This way the chances for someone to use your PIN reduces significantly.

Use a secure payment gateway

Using services like PayPal or AlertPay are considered better that other methods since they are secure gateways and have a certain degree of credibility. Such gateways also offer you protection and they will take care of your account in case anything unseemly happens.

Use an Antivirus

This may seem like such an obvious thing to do for you. But the reality is most people display a remarkable amount of apathy when it comes to using antivirus. And it's not simply enough to install the antivirus and forget about it. Run scans occasionally, update the antivirus and most importantly don't restrict it to just to your laptop or desktop. All your devices need to be secure. So make sure your mobile phones and tablets are also secure because we do end up doing a lot of transactions through them. So first step, get antivirus. And preferably try to steer clear of the free versions.

Don't Use Public Wifi

The perils of public wifi has been talked about endlessly. But we still become tempted at the thought of checking out our social media profiles and seeing who has sent us a text on Whatsapp. But public wifi is ripe for attacks. In fact it's almost like inviting someone to attack you system if you use public wifi.

Choose a Strong Password

This one appears like a no-brainer, right? But you wouldn't believe how easy it is to crack our passwords, given our propensity to use everything fro our pets name splashed across Instagram to our moms birthday that anyone can get off a quick search from Facebook. The trick is to use a password that is not easy to guess and not something that is obvious. Names of parents, siblings, pets, schools and so on are extremely common. So use a password that is easy to remember but difficult to guess. And another no-brainer with this one, is, definitely do not share your password with ANYBODY!

But the most important thing when it comes to securing yourself is awareness. Make sure you have notifications sent to your phone whenever a transaction takes place. Set up two factor authentication for both e-commerce related activities and also all other digital accounts. Keep yourself up to date in terms of what breaches are happening so that you can take the appropriate measures when required.

Online transactions are essential now to all of us. Ignoring it is not going to make life easier for you. At some point you will have to join the digital bandwagon. Better to build the right habits for cyber hygiene now, rather than later.

Originally Posted By Ramya Menon: