Tips to Avoid Getting Hacked When Shopping Online

Ecommerce industry has given us so much to cherish. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, people prefer to buy online by choosing options like contactless delivery. 

Ecommerce sites provide extensive discounts on items, free delivery options and a wide variety to choose from, which we cannot find in nearby offline stores.

However, with so many advantages comes the downside of data and website breaches. 

Ecommerce giant Ebay had to ask 145 million customers to change their passwords due to a data breach.

Such mishaps can happen at any time. So, what is the solution? 

Well, here are 11 tips that will help you shop safely on eCommerce platforms:

11 Tips to Avoid Getting Hacked when Shopping Online

1. Choose your vendors wisely.

There are many vendors online who will promise you genuine products, best service and speak volumes about their credibility.

But, do not rely on their words; instead, trust your research. Hop on to Google for their reviews, take a look at their ratings.

The safety of your sensitive information lies on your shoulders.

2. Choose a genuine platform.

For newbie website owners, it is essential to choose an authentic CMS or Content Management System to host and protect their website from data theft. 

A good CMS like WordPress or Joomla constantly monitors the activities happening on their platforms. 

They issue software updates regularly and ensure that no website gets compromised. 

However, it is equally important to keep your CMS software updated at all times to avoid mishaps.

3. Avoid buying from spoofed sites.

Not every website is as safe as Amazon or Walmart. One needs to enquire into a website’s URL, check whether it is SSL secured and, have a genuine interface or not. 

As a user, you must inquire into a website owner’s address. The best way to check that is by clicking on the grey padlock icon ahead of the URL. 

It will show everything from the owner’s name to his address (depending on validation level).

4. Use HTTPS (HTTP + SSL certificate)

To protect your website from the wrath of cybercriminals, your website must have HTTPS encryption. 

HTTPS is Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure that uses SSL certificate to encrypt data transfer between a web browser and a website. 

An SSL certificate protects data transfer through Public Key Infrastructure, which uses an asymmetric function to establish a connection and symmetric functions to keep it secure. 

Having an SSL will help you satisfy your customers as well as search engine rankings. 

5. Update unpatched applications

Unpatched application invites automated evil crawlers to make your site malfunction by injecting bugs and viruses. 

CMS software like WordPress constantly rolls out security patch updates that need to be installed immediately. 

You can even automate updates in some CMSs but, if the automation option is not given then, you must regularly check your updates section and update the patches right away.

6. Go for unique passwords.

We can blame a site for not using the right security protocol but, making a strong password choice is your responsibility. 

Choose a password that is a combination of both letters and words. Use both uppercase and lowercase words\letters to make it hard to guess. 

If you cannot figure out a strong password, you can use password managers.

7. Credit cards are a safer option than debit cards.

In case of a data breach, credit cards are considered much safer than debit cards because they are not directly linked to your bank account. 

Moreover, credit cards have limits attached to them which means that a hacker can damage your finances to a certain extent of your limit. 

But, in a debit card (which is directly linked to your primary bank account), a hacker can spend as much as he wants till the time it does not get blocked by the bank itself.

8. Don’t give unnecessary information to a website.

Often while shopping, users tend to care less about what information they are giving to a website. 

Birthplace, marital status, and blood groups are irrelevant details to ask while buying a product.

Before sharing your information, think along the lines of what usage an eCommerce website has of such details.

9. Double-check on lucrative deals

Not that we don’t consider extensive offers to be true but, some deals like winning a Tesla by signing up with your phone number and answering a question as simple as “On which planet do we live?” are too much to believe. Isn’t it?

Double-check on such deals both with your conscious and internet research before lending sensitive details to such sites.

10. Using public Wi-Fi networks while transacting is dangerous

Public Wi-Fi is unsafe in the sense that hackers can easily send malware to your computer. 

A hacker can set himself between you and the connection and send malicious codes while sharing data files. 

Public Wi-Fis are not recommended for making transactions as users can put their credit/debit and bank details at risk. 

Moreover, you must avoid connecting with rogue hotspots. A free hotspot is not always a safe hotspot. 

Rogue hotspots are set as baits by hackers for users to connect. Once a user accepts the bait, the hacker can easily intercept data and inject malware.

11. Don’t use coupons from unidentifiable sources.

We all love discounts offered through coupons, but not all of them are genuine. 

Hackers can attach hyperlinks with coupons that you copy and paste on the vendor’s site. 

Hackers do it to acquire your credit/debit card information and, once gathered, can steal it.

So, choose coupons only from solicited sources that can be trusted. 

To Conclude

Ecommerce has made our lives so much easier. The industry has given us so much to be happy about, yet there are things to consider warily.

Hackers have gotten advanced with time and have found new ways to automate their bad deeds through crawlers and bugs.

They need you to do one wrong thing, and everything that you have built through sweat and blood will go under their command.

So, follow these eleven tips mentioned above to safeguard your data, website and payments for the future.