Websites should be doing all that they can to ensure that the information that they request from their customers is kept safe and confidential. It is in the Internet retailer’s best interest to ensure that their customers feel secure about making purchases on their sites. As a result, security measures are being seriously addressed by Internet businesses. There are several things that you can see at a glance that should give you a pretty good first impression of the security of a site.
You can tell when you’re in a secure area because the Internet address (also called the URL), to the left of the colon, changes from ‘http’ to ‘https.’ This is to signify that you are going from a non-secure to a secure site. Other browsers notify people of a transition from a secure to a non-secure site by having a pop-up window warn you that you are no longer in a secure area. This is simply a service for the consumer so that they can be aware at all times as to what kind of security they can expect.
Many Internet and banking institutions have instigated fraud protection in the form of refunding fraudulent funds. Even the law has caught up with Internet purchasing, and the general consensus is that if your credit card is used fraudulently, online or off, you are only liable for a maximum of $50 of the amount stolen. Fraudulent use of credit cards may not be as frequent of an occurrence as you may think. It is the vast minority of people who are taken advantage of through online purchasing.
You cannot always control what kinds of safety features are available on other people’s websites, so there are safety measures that you need to take to protect your own computer. There are products that you can buy and programs that you can download that will reinforce the safety of transactions you make online. Below is a list of things that you should be doing to protect your electronic (financial, personal, etc.) information safe:
• Keep your digital information in a secure place. Just as you may have a safe for important paper documents, make sure that you are protecting the things that may not be as tangible.
• Products from the company <a href="Symantec provide a variety of e-tools to give you the protection you need. One such example is the Norton Personal Firewall. A firewall hides your computer from prying eyes.
• Another type of brand name software that you will want to have to protect yourself is Norton AntiVirus. Norton AntiVirus defends against threats to the safety of your data in the case that someone was trying to invade your electronic data.
• Use a secure Internet browser to navigate the Internet. Good examples of secure Internet browsers include Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Internet Explorer, or America Online.
• Look for how your browser keeps your valuable information secure. Secure browsers usually encrypt or scramble information that you send, so it is less likely to be intercepted by other individuals.
• Use a browser with 128-bit encryption versus a 40-bit encryption. The 40-bit encryption does not provide as much security.
Internet retailers and the Federal Trade Commission are motivated to standardize the online purchasing process and to make more people feel comfortable about using their credit cards online. New suits have been filed against companies that would sell sensitive personal information to others. Security measures may not be perfect, but with all the organizations working to protect you as the consumer it is unlikely for you to be one of the unlucky few whose credit card information is compromised.