The convenience of buying just about anything from an online store is something that has quickly become an essential part of day to day life for so many of us. The fact that our smartphones give us instant access to the web means that the temptation make an impulse purchase whilst on the go is often too strong to resist and this is changing the way we spend our money.
However, as with most good things there can be a downside – hackers and fake websites that are designed to trick you into losing money. Here are some tips for staying safe and not falling victim to scammers when cruising the World Wide Web.
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Often the new scams or viruses that come along are quickly detected and warnings given to help people avoid being tricked. Keeping an eye on news stories or even setting up a Google alert can mean that you are the first to know what’s happening, allowing you to take the appropriate measures to minimize your exposure.
Making sure that the apps and programs that you use are regularly updated is a sure way to fight fire with fire. Keeping users safe is one of the highest priorities for any developer and new versions of software that are one step ahead of the bad guys is always the aim.
By simply upgrading to the latest release of your favorite apps you can make the chance of your device being compromised far less likely.
Check certificates (including SSL checker)
A system called SSL is widely used by authentic websites. The process works when your browser checks whether or not a web location has a Secure Sockets Layer certificate and whether it is current, valid and matches the site’s details.
If it fails any of these checks then a warning notice is displayed. If it passes, a padlock symbol in the browser changes from open to closed and the address will be displayed as starting with ‘https’ instead of ‘http’.
You can even find specific SSL checkers which ensure certificates are valid and up to date. It is important that you consider this carefully and always check the validity of websites before making any constantly mistakes. Online security experts such as Symantec can help with this.
Don’t be phished
Emails can sometimes be a powerful tool for scammers and the links in them can lead to fake websites that look very convincing. The best way to deal with this approach is to treat unexpected or unsolicited emails as suspicious, even if they look official.
If you do want to follow up on the contents, it’s best to use a saved bookmark or type the web address in manually rather that clicking on the link in the email.