In the digital age, security is one of our greatest concerns. Every other day, we’re greeted with a story about a high-profile hack or phishing scam that costs unwitting consumers billions of euros a year. As well as attacks from cyber-criminals, there’s also the threat of scams lurking behind seemingly legitimate online transactions.
One might think that the most technologically savvy demographic, millennials, would be immune to these threats, but research has shown that millennials fall for online scams at a much higher rate than the rest of the population. Cyber-crime is advanced, so taking the right security measures is the only way to keep your money secure online.
Here are the top tips for ensuring secure online transactions every time.
Hide Your Data
One of the most common causes of financial security breaches online is data leaks. This doesn’t mean accidentally posting your PayPal account information on Twitter. Mostly, it means that the various websites storing your online financial data become compromised. This could be due to the site getting hacked or your computer simply being stolen. Counteract this by never letting a site save your payment information, and never record sensitive financial data on your device.
Password and Encrypt Everything
If you must keep this kind of data on your phone or laptop, make sure it’s as secure as possible. Any sensitive files should be password-protected, which can easily be done for free via Microsoft Office. Ideally, you should be using end-to-end encryption software for any online transaction in order to keep payment data sufficiently hidden from potential criminals.
Use a Trusted Platform
Never heard of that e-commerce site you’re on and can’t find any reviews of it? Close the tab immediately. Only use major trusted sites with a proven history of securely handling personal transactions. When paying or receiving money online, use sites that utilize trusted platforms like PayPal or TransferWise.
A major site such as Lottoland can guarantee potentially billion dollar lottery jackpots to its customers so always uses secure platforms like these to process payments as they’re aware of what can go wrong if you don’t stick with who you know. Be more like them.
Install the Latest Antivirus Software
The threat to secure online transactions is always evolving. Hackers are incredibly intelligent and quick at adapting to security measures, so always make sure you have the latest versions of any firewalls and antivirus software on all devices. Never ignore updates, as this is also a primary cause of security breaches. Use a trusted antivirus provider such as Avast or Bitdefender, and make sure your operating systems stay updated.
Secure WiFi for Everything
Few people tend to even realize how dangerous unsecured WiFi can be. Sure you might feel like you’re bagging some free internet access, but there’s a possibility that the unsecured WiFi network you’re logged into is currently sweeping your phone and downloaded all of your credit card information. WiFi works both ways and can be used to extract highly sensitive data. Always use a secure, password-protected network from a trusted source.
If you follow these very simple steps, your chances of experiencing an unsecured online transaction will be greatly reduced. Cyber-security is far too important to neglect, especially when your livelihood might be at risk.