Every day, your personal information is protected by technology and whether you know it or not, you’ve already benefited from security features developed to protect data like credit card numbers, passwords and usernames. Websites you use daily that have been designed by banks, insurance companies, and government agencies all contain sophisticated security features to help keep your most sensitive information safe from cyber criminals. 

When was the last time you thought about checking the online security status of a preferred online shop or service?  It’s probably not often —and that’s because in today’s connected world most of us take online security for granted.

Online threats are not limited to large corporations or brands—anyone can become a victim. For this reason, it’s important to know what to look for to ensure a safe online shopping experience.

Check website security when online shopping

Identifying the security features of a website can be difficult unless you know what to look for. Firstly, you should always look for an SSL Certification, which you can verify in a few ways:

  • Check that beginning of the site’s URL to see that it contains ‘S’ in addition to the ‘http://’. Look for visual cues indicating security, such as a lock symbol and green colour in the address bar.
  • Before entering a credit card payment or any confidential information make sure that the website in your browser address bar turns green or begins with HTTPS and not HTTP.  This is an indicator that your session is secure and that the site is using encryption to protect your personal data. This protocol is known as SSL—Secure Socket Layer—encryption and it protects online transactions by keeping data in transit confidential through encryption. In other words, your information is not visible to hackers.

Top 5 tips to Stay Secure

Time is of the essence on Black Friday and purchasing the best deals can happen in the blink of an eye. While you’re shopping on a website, some security features may not be present but there are other ways to help you stay secure online.

Here’s our top 5:

  1. Never click on unexpected emails or links to "deals" that look too good to be true. Phishing attempts can come in the form of an email advertising a fantastic deal or offer, but the links within the email will direct you to a fake website that was built to capture a personal information from unsuspecting victims. Look out for emails and text messages (also known as SMiShing) advertising great deals that seem too good to be true. Although spam can seem harmless, never click on links or download files from unknown sources. Often, phishing emails and websites contain typos, spelling or grammatical mistakes making them easier to spot. 
  2. Today’s threats go beyond just Antivirus and your PC. Using a comprehensive Internet security suite like Norton Security can help protect your devices and the information on them from threats like malware, ransomware and spyware.
  3. Ensure any software you use is kept up to date and regularly check the internet browser you’re using is the latest, updated version to avoid security holes that have already been patched.
  4. Always use strong passwords. Yes, your pet’s name is easy to remember, however it’s also much easier to crack than a password of mixed numbers, symbols and random letters. In today’s fast-paced, high-tech world, there’s no such thing as a password that’s too complicated!
  5. Always Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when you connect to free public Wi-Fi. A VPN will encrypt the data you send and receive so even if someone manages to eavesdrop, they’ll just have a bunch of encrypted data.

Shopping online is easy and convenient, provided that you’re vigilant about online security. If you are unsure if a retailer or site is reputable, do a quick online search for reviews or indications that it may not be trustworthy. If you don’t see any of the above-mentioned security features on a website, always play it safe and shop elsewhere.

Keep these tips and suggestions in mind as you embark on your online deal hunting and know your information is safe from threats. Stay up to date on the latest security innovations so you can feel good about the safety of your devices and always use trusted online protection to help you protect your digital world.