Stay safe when you’re shopping online

Posted: Wed 28 Nov 2018, 10:39am.

Do you shop online? These days it’s normal to use online stores to buy everything from groceries to gifts for friends and family.

According to the National Cyber Security Centre, victims reported losing nearly £16 million to Christmas shopping fraudsters last year. Here are some simple things you can do to help you stay safe while you’re shopping online:

  • Keep your computer and security software up to date
    You should have security solutions on all your devices to protect you from viruses and malware. Keep your security software up to date, along with your operating system, web browser and other important programs, to make sure you’re protected from the latest threats.
  • Check your statements
    Carefully check your bank and credit card statements regularly. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, report it to your bank straight away.
  • Use a Password Manager
    IT Services strongly recommends that you use strong, randomly generated passwords and store them in a Password Manager. You should never use the same password for different websites or systems - if somebody learns your password, they can easily access your accounts, spend your money and steal your data. Many Password Managers are free - see the IT Services website for details.
  • Where possible, use 2FA (two-factor authentication)
    This is available for banking, Amazon, ebay, Microsoft, Google, Paypal and many more services. When you’ve turned on two-factor authentication, the service will check that it’s really you when you try to log in. Usually, they’ll send you a text message with a code, or you’ll see a popup on your phone asking you to confirm that you’re trying to log in. 2FA dramatically improves the security of your accounts and data.
  • Don’t give away too much information
    Be mindful of the information you’re giving away whenever you fill in forms online. Do they need this piece of information? Only fill in mandatory fields and don’t give away things like your mother’s maiden name - if you’re ever asked to give answers to memorable questions, generate a random string of text and store this in your Password Manager to retrieve later.
  • Does it look too good to be true?
    Above all, be careful and suspicious whenever you’re shopping online. If you see an incredible deal that seems too good to be true, it usually is. Be careful about which retailers you use and don’t enter any personal details if you can’t be sure it’s a legitimate company.

We’ve found three great articles from reputable sources with more details, and don’t forget to read the Top 10 Security Tips on the ITS website.

  1. National Cyber Security Centre: Let's have a cyber chat about Black Friday
  2. How to Shop Online Like a Security Pro
  3. Don’t Get Pwned: A Guide to Safer Logins

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