With an impeccable technology in place, fast internet connections, and effective mobile devices, online transactions are swiftly gaining popularity. Online transactions are a system of payment where purchases are made online, and the payments for the purchases are made online via online payment platforms. Most E-commerce stores are adopting this mode of payment. The reason arises from the many benefits that online transactions bring forth to the business and the customers.
Organizations using online transactions and the whole process is completely automated and involves less or no human interventions. The transactions happen instantly and without any delays. Online transactions have accelerated and are now being used in all corners of the globe. Huge monies are being transacted digitally. According to a 2020 digital payment report by Statista, the online transaction segment had an online market value of US$3,859 billion in 2019 alone.
Indeed, digital transactions have been of great essence. However, this does not mean that it is a haven. There are risks attached. One major threat facing online transactions is the cyber breach threat. Cyber attackers have now become perilous, even more than bank robbers. However, with proper safety precautions, problems associated with online transactions can be done away with. This article explains some of the safety tips that you ought to have in place when transacting online.
1. Adopt Best Password Practices
Unauthorized access is one of the greatest threats that is associated with online transactions. Online payment accounts are usually targeting cyber attackers. Victims of unauthorized accesses are generally faced with dire consequences such as loss of valuable financial information, identity, and money.
One of the easiest ways that cyber attackers use to enter online payment accounts is by guessing passwords. Simple, weak, and easy to guess passwords will give an intruder a straightforward time to enter an online account and tamper with online transactions. Conversely, a hard to guess password will make it prohibitively difficult for an intruder to break into your account. Put, the stronger your password is, the lower the likelihood that a hacker will be able to gain access to your account.
Passwords are how legitimate users can prove their identity and prove that they are authorized to use it. Password security is hence a key consideration that anyone carrying out an online transaction should put into consideration. There are specific considerations which a user must know to reduce the likelihood of a cyber intruder entering an online account:
- Making the password long and complicated. An ideal length should be about eight or more characters. Long passwords will make it hard for hackers to guess compared to the short password, which are easy to crack.
- The password should be a blend of characters such as numbers, both uppercase and lowercase letters, commas, full stops, percentage signs, among other symbols.
- Apply dissimilar passwords for every account. Using a similar account for every account will potentially put all your accounts in great jeopardy.
- Mind where you store the password. Storing them in the browsers or writing them on a piece of paper should not be encouraged.
2. Ensure that You are using a Secure Connection
Online transactions will require that a client submits sensitive information such as credit card details, debit card details, login credentials, bank account details, physical addresses, and other essential user information. This information needs to be protected from cyber attackers.
Cyber attackers are becoming rampant. For this reason, it is always good to use a good secure connection while doing your online transactions. HTTPS is what secures user data and ensures a secure connection. All websites need an SSL certificate, which enables the HTTPS protocol. SSL certificates provide the encryption to the data. All information transfers between the user and the server is encrypted. The information goes in a coded form. An intruder will not be able to decipher the true meaning of the data. He, therefore, cannot alter the original meaning of the information.
An SSL certificate is, therefore, a critical security companion that all organizations that deal with the online transaction should be able to take to protect their information and all data files from their users from being stolen by hackers. It is recommended that all organizations that involve online transactions should buy EV SSL certificates from a trusted Certificate Authority. The EV SSL plays a significant role in providing an extra security layer to the online transaction process. Just a cheap EV SSL certificate is effective and will give a website a green address, which is what customers will be looking for.
Users will have confidence that the visiting website has an SSL certificate. To do this, the user can check the address bar of the website. A website with an SSL certificate will have the HTTPS feature and not HTTP. If a site lacks these features, then it might put all your online transactions in great jeopardy. Such a website should be avoided at all costs.
3. Use of Multiple Factor Authentication
A multiple factor authentication is a vital tool for anyone who is involved in online transactions. Many people fail to change their passwords or make very minimal changes, hence putting the entire identity validation process at risk. A multiple factor authentication process can come in to aid in the user validation process. For instance, a user might be required to enter a specific code sent to his/her email address or phone. The code will be used to validate the identity of the user. This will make it hard for hackers, who may not be able to have the code, to access your online payment account.
The use of biometrics could also be of great essence to the safety of online transactions. Biometric is just but another version of a multiple factor authentication. It is even more secure than the use of a security code. This form of multiple-factor authentication entirely depends on the facial recognition feature; fingerprints and retina scans can validate the user’s identity. Any deviations will make it hard for anyone to access the account. This type of identity validation is more effective, and it should be adopted by both organizations and individuals involved in online transactions.
4. Automatic Logouts
Some businesses and websites will allow users to stay logged in even when they do not use the account. Users can then access their information and carry out online transactions without having to log into their accounts. This is a dangerous thing to do. All a hacker will need to do is find the device you used to log into your account, and then the attacker can access your account and tamper with it.
To be on the safe side, you should disable the automatic logout feature, which minimizes this risk by automatically logging out an account after a few minutes of inactivity. Similarly, it would help if you did not have your passwords stored in your web browsers. Following these guidelines will guarantee your online transaction process full immunity from cyber attackers.
5. Carrying out regular software and device updates
System vulnerabilities will always exist. Device operating systems and software will mostly have loopholes that were not identified by developers. Hackers can find such loopholes and use them to tamper with your online payment account. Developers will always try to find these loopholes and then release a new operating system and software versions that address the security loopholes that existed in the previous versions. To ensure that you are on the safe side, you should ensure that you install these updates whenever they are released. Doing this will ensure that your online transaction processes are safe from loopholes that can render them vulnerable to hackers.
Online transactions are fast and efficient. However, they are vulnerable to hackers who are always keen to try and locate vulnerabilities that could lead them to tamper with them and steal the money. Safety measures should be put in place to ensure that the whole process of online transaction is secure. This article has explained some of the best steps that you can have in place to ensure safe online transactions.