The world is rapidly shifting toward the digital age, and online shopping has become the most prevalent and convenient way to purchase consumer items. As long as you have a smartphone or computer connected to the Internet, you’re free to buy anything ranging from clothes, gadgets, and grocery items without leaving your home.
Although it has numerous perks, it also comes with drawbacks related to security. Issues such as identity theft, data breach, and credit card hacking have been reinforced due to recent technological advances.
As a result, users must remain vigilant while shopping via the Internet. To help you out, here’s a list of the most common online shopping security threats and how you can avoid them altogether.
7 Online Shopping Security Threats
1. Data Breaches
Simply put, a data breach occurs whenever someone gains unauthorized access to your sensitive information. And as you transact online, you risk exposing personal data, which could lead to detrimental results. Although the eCommerce website owner is responsible for protecting your information from cybercriminals, you still need to be vigilant whenever you are asked to provide personal details.
2. Identity Theft
Identity theft is one of the most significant security risks related to online shopping. Cybercriminals take advantage of unsuspecting online shoppers by hacking into famous websites and stealing sensitive information. Afterward, they use the stolen information to impersonate and make unverified purchases using your personal information.
3. Fake Online Vendors
Now that the Internet is readily available, almost anyone can set up an eCommerce website to start their online business. However, this convenience also makes it easier for cybercriminals to launch further attacks. They often create sham selling pages with enticing advertisements to lure unsuspecting customers into placing orders. However, these bad actors don’t have the intent to make deliveries because their primary purpose is to steal customer information and money.
If you’ve been using the Internet for quite some time, you’ve probably had unsolicited window pop-ups on your screen. These annoying pop-ups are known as adware, advertising software meant to generate revenue for the site owner.
Although they may seem unsuspicious, some cybercriminals encrypt these ads with malware to lure you into malicious websites where they launch attacks. These websites will expose your personal information, including your name, address, and credit card details.
5. Insecure Websites
One of the many ways to ensure cyber security is via data encryption, and it has become a vital web practice to prevent data leaks. Websites with data encryption can protect sensitive information such as credit cards and bank details. In addition, these websites usually take PCI compliance, GDPR, and DLP strategies seriously.
However, some insecure websites operate on outdated protocols and certificates, which make them susceptible to cyberattacks.
To avoid visiting insecure websites, you should make it a habit to double-check their URL. An encrypted webpage often begins with HTTPS, so if you see HTTP or none, that’s a glowing red flag. Such websites could leak or sell your information to third parties and fraudsters.
6. Trojan Horses
A trojan horse virus is a security threat that disguises itself as an unsuspecting application or website. It is one of the easiest ways cybercriminals can swipe sensitive information from your device. So while browsing on your phone, laptop, or tablet, it’s crucial to think twice about opening unfamiliar apps, files, and websites.
7. Public WiFi
Now that the world is returning to its feet after the COVID-19 pandemic, coffee shops, restaurants, and malls are slowly getting packed. These establishments usually offer free WiFi, but avoiding using these domains when making online purchases would be best.
Cybercriminals typically use these networks to stalk potential targets. For example, they could hack into these domains, trace everyone’s online traffic, and gather sensitive information.
Tips To Avoid Online Shopping Security Threats
Use A Virtual Private Network (VPN)
One of the best ways to protect yourself while shopping online is by utilizing a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It’s an online service that will disguise your identity online and encrypt all of your Internet traffic. As a result, hackers will find it challenging to track your online activities and steal your information.
Constantly Update Browser And Operating System
Prevent hacktivists from gaining access to your devices by updating all apps, software, and browsers running on them. These updates protect internet-connected gadgets from vulnerabilities that cybercriminals may use as entry points to launch attacks.
Use Robust Anti-Virus Software
Cybercriminals find more sophisticated ways to compromise devices using viruses and malware as technology advances. To prevent this, investing in a reliable antivirus or anti-malware software would be ideal. It will serve as an extra layer of protection, making it more difficult for hacktivists to crack into your device.
Invest In Script Blockers
Indeed, online shopping is an innovative and convenient phenomenon that provides individuals the freedom to utilize their time, energy, and resources efficiently. Unfortunately, however, cybercriminals continue to take advantage of vulnerabilities in eCommerce websites to defraud shoppers, and it seems like it won’t stop anytime soon.
But the good news is that there are certain things you may do to protect yourself from being victimized by these bad actors.
Going the extra mile to cultivate security measures for your online shopping could save you from data breaches, identity theft, and more. So the next time you purchase items online, don’t just focus on finding great products and discounts – make sure to look out for security threats.