Online transactions are extremely convenient. They allow you to make purchases, pay bills, and even transfer bills without having to visit your bank or lending company. The ease of online transactions has facilitated the rise and continued success of e-commerce platforms, streaming services, and even B2B transactions.
To stay aligned with the growing shift to digital transactions, banks, businesses, and payment methods have evolved. Almost all banks give users online access to their accounts via a secure website or even a smartphone application. Nearly every business aware of digital commerce invests in online payment methods. There are even companies like PayPal designed to make digital transactions more secure and safe. However, this does not mean your online transactions come with foolproof security. Read on to find out more about why you need strong safety practices to continue making secure online payments.
You Need to Be More Careful with Online Transactions?
Phishing Attacks Are Harder to Detect
Phishing attacks are not the most sophisticated type of cyberattacks. But that doesn’t stop them from being one of the most common ways for hackers to trick you into granting access. Phishing does not require much except a few basic web design and coding skills. Hackers can send you an email or a link to a page that looks almost exactly like a service you use. However, this is usually exactly what the hackers want you to think. If you don’t pay attention, you may fail to clock the telltale signs of a phishing attempt. And once you enter your login credentials onto the phishing page, they are immediately compromised.
It used to be a lot easier to spot phishing a few years ago. However, cybercriminals have gotten better at imitating actual pages. Therefore, you should always remain cautious and skeptical about any suspicious links or emails. Even when you get an email asking you to pay your internet bills, you should only access Spectrum Bill Pay by typing in the URL or using your provider’s app. Otherwise, you could risk losing your digital information, bank details, and even your digital identity.
Malware May Already Exist on Your Device
We use a large number of devices in our everyday lives. From computers to smartphones to tablets to wearable tech, there is no shortage of devices with the ability to connect to a Wi-Fi network. While this may make life easier in many ways, it also opens up multiple vulnerabilities. Each device represents a potential access point that a hacker or cybercriminal manipulate for their illegal activities.
Even if you’ve never made a payment using your smartwatch, it could still serve as a bridge for a hacker to cross over. Once that happens, your smartwatch could be a risk to your other devices, connected accounts, and even networks that you connect to. Some hackers may install spyware on your device, which lets them monitor you and eavesdrop on you whenever they want. You don’t want an unknown spy watching you type out your banking info or Social Security details.
Hardware Can Be Tampered with To Log Actions
Hardware like a keyboard may seem harmless when it comes to online payment risks. But that is not always true. Hardware can be more difficult to tamper with than software since it requires the hacker or an accomplice to physically interact with the equipment. However, it is not impossible to do so. In any case, you should view any equipment you don’t own or trust with a healthy dose of suspicion.
A public keyboard, such as one at an internet café or a printer’s shop, is a great example. While it may look normal on the outside, it may have had hardware like a keylogger added to it. A keylogger can be rigged fairly easily, and once activated, it logs all keys pressed in a session. This could easily include bank account logins, credit card numbers, CVV codes, and email addresses. All of this information is enough to compromise you if you make an online transaction over compromised hardware.
Outdated OS, Software, and Equipment Is Risky
As a rule, always update your devices. Keeping operating software or applications out of date is a big risk. Especially if you use those OS or apps to make online transactions. While outdated browsers or apps may still allow you to make payments, their security layers may be obsolete. This is because cybercrime evolves much faster than cybersecurity. A new kind of attack will inevitably emerge, and this will usually cause software companies and service providers to upgrade their security protocols as well.
However, with an app or software that is not up to date, the loopholes will remain. And you can be sure any hacker that discovers them will try to exploit them. Outdated hardware and equipment such as routers, access point gateways, and physical firewalls also need regular replacement once they cannot be updated further. If you use outdated equipment or software, replace them immediately and change all your account passwords as an added precaution.