In this digital day and age, more and more financial investments can be made online at the click of a button. There’s no longer any need to spend time waiting for trades to be made manually, or for banks to take their time looking over loan applications for months – instead, financial technology firms around the country make it quick and easy to buy or sell shares at the drop of a hat, or to have access to loan funds within a few hours once some details have been inputted.
However, along with the advances in technology which make investing a breeze, comes some potential security downfalls too. Unfortunately hackers around the world are coming up with ever more sophisticated ways to steal valuable information from individuals and businesses, and the cost of identity theft continues to rise.
If you’re worried about keeping your money and your personal details secure online, it’s important to do everything you can to be safe. Read on for some steps you can take today to protect yourself when you trade shades, access funds, buy goods and share online.
Use Trustworthy Sites and Payment Methods
A good way to take advantage of technology while staying safe is to only ever use trustworthy websites and payment methods. When you’re browsing online, stick with well-known brands and sites which are committed to digital security. Look for signs of trust such as:
- A quality SSL certificate
- Https URL in the checkout
- Participation in programs such as the Google Trusted Store platform
- 30-day or more refund policies
Try Third-Party Payment Platforms
When it comes to payment methods, be very careful who you give your bank account details to, and instead try to pay using secure, third-party merchant services platforms. If you really want to keep your details safe, it pays to complete transactions using services such as PayPal and Apple Pay. Indeed, Apple devotees will be happy to know that the company has recently made it possible for businesses to accept Apple Pay transactions online.
When you use these types of payment methods, your credit or debit card information and other pertinent details are securely stored by tech giants like PayPal or Apple, rather than being given to smaller, and potentially untested, organizations.
Utilize Protective Software
One of the simplest things you can do to keep your financial and other information safe is to put protective software on all of your computer systems. There are plenty of great programs on the market that you can purchase for an affordable price. Anti-spam, anti-malware, anti-spyware and antivirus software will help to stop hackers from accessing your details or shutting down your systems from afar.
When you’re comparing products, look for those that
- Are designed to keep all your online data protected from prying eyes
- Use advanced virus protection
- Block all potentially dangerous emails, attachments and websites
- Identify data-stealing apps
- Protect against identity theft
- Maintain user privacy at all times
Put Antivirus on All Your Devices and Keep It up to Date
Don’t forget too that once you have this software installed on all your devices (you should protect your smartphones, tablets, and laptops, in addition to desktop computers), you must keep it updated if you want to enjoy the maximum protection.
Most software companies regularly improve their products to fix any security issues that may have arisen since the last update, so you need to keep downloading the latest version to be properly protected.
Firewalls are also very beneficial in keeping thieves at bay. Firewalls act as the first line of defense against hackers who are trying to gain access to your systems and information, and are designed to filter potential threats out from the credible, and secure, data that comes in.
While there are typically built-in firewalls already installed on most computers, these are not necessarily activated when you purchase a system, so check in case you need to change the settings. For even better protection, consider upgrading to a professional third-party firewall.
Choose Strong Passwords
Another essential security protocol for you to take is to choose strong passwords for your computer systems and each website, app, smartphone, and the like that you log in to. Unfortunately many people around the world still use the most common types of basic codes, such as “password” or “123456”, but these are pretty useless because thieves can break into them in mere seconds.
Instead, you should only ever use hard-to-guess passwords which are made up of a variety of numbers, letters (both upper and lower case), and symbols. A strong password also contains at least eight characters.
Try to use different codes across various platforms and websites, so that if one password is guessed not all of your information is compromised. And ensure that you update your passwords on a regular basis, around every two to three months, to be safe.