World is evolving to more online services. In this new universe, you can be a pioneer who made his first purchase in a Geocities website or an insecure newcomer thinking how to make your first order online. Whether you are the most advanced user or the most innocent and inexperienced buyer, the security in the online transactions must be always in your mind.
This article does not intend to explain the advantages of the ecommerce in some areas; that’s something you are viewing for yourself. Every wall is being tumbled and the online world gains market share and the key word is trust.
Consumers only make the purchase decision when they trust in the transaction and that is composed by three factors:
- the nature and quality of the product or service
- the speed and reliability of the delivery service
- the security of the payment
Twenty years ago (1995), ecommerce was an original concept for a few early adopters and, step by step, the two first points have been solved. A consumer has a solid guarantee for his purchase and the products are most times delivered the next day (let’s exclude from this story to the idiots who buy a love potion in a Nigerian website and later they go to the TV claiming the money they sent through Western Union because it doesn’t work as advertised).
In 2015 the battle has moved to the reliability of the payment methods: there’s not a single day without news about a massive data robbery with thousands or millions of names and credit card numbers revealed. Anybody can have a whole day browsing the web just reading news and stories about scamming techniques, phising, dark/hidden/black web… well I said a day, I mean a month!
The rising of the cybercrime is happening because Internet is a great place to be a thief. You can create a code to replace ads in other people websites and receive the money from American advertisers directly to your Bahamas bank account while you are managing your bot network from Moscow. It is an invisible war between governments and megacorporations against bands of cybercriminals so we do not hear the bullets over our heads. Both sides in this war have people with incredible skills and we can’t do nothing to stay safe.
Nothing? Sure? Well… there’s a few thing we can do.
First of all, stay away from things too good to be true. A serious business will never give away their products and nine out off ten times that incredible sale is just a scam. There is a lot of well branded companies with a solid business model, often with a greater offline presence, where you can buy almost anything. There is always a cheaper website online but that is the price of security.
Second, you keep your money in your wallet, right? Then, do not expose your credit card online. That is what they are looking for. If you take a look on DiceDealer.com you will realize the importance they give to security in payment methods. Their core business is another one but they realized the importance of security for their customers and take a nice part of their homepage to explain how to pay safely. Try to pay with credit, not debit, card and it could be even better if you find a credit card with secondary one-time-numbers: you give your secondary number for that transaction with any sum of money and immediately the secondary credit card expires.
Third, do not expose yourself in public wi-fi networks, specially in big cities with highly populated places (squares, stations, airports). Would you walk through Times Square with a bunch of one hundred bills in your hand? That’s what you’re doing when you log into your banking account through a public wi-fi network.
And fourth, do not give your data to nobody. There are no things such “account security check” or “service reactivation procedure”: it’s always just a try to get your username and password for any service, mostly banking accounts. Don’t do it. Never.
Of course, if the bad guys want you, they will find you. The ideas above are just to make the bad guys never know a word about you so they do not try to find you.