Advertising
Advertising

6 Tips To Stay Secure While Shopping Online

6 Tips To Stay Secure While Shopping Online

The holiday season is here, and that means consumers will be opening their wallets to gear up for parties, gift exchanges, and family gatherings— and an increasing amount of this spending is being done online. A survey conducted by UPS found that 2016 marked the first year where consumers reported making more purchases online than they did offline, at 51%; this is up from 48% in 2015 and 47% in 2014.

It’s easy to understand why so many of us have embraced online shopping: It’s easy, convenient, and far less stressful than cramming into a crowded mall or lining up outside a store at 3 a.m. in eight-degree weather. Unfortunately, online shopping has also opened up consumers to cyber crimes. While consumers scour online shopping sites for deals on gifts and Christmas decor, cybercriminals lurk behind the scenes, ready to harvest credit card information and personal data.

I spoke with Santosh Varughese, President and CEO of Cognetyx, about what consumers can do to stay safe from cybersecurity threats while shopping online. Here’s the insight he shared with me:

Advertising

1. Make Sure Your Devices Are Up To Date And Have Anti-Virus Protection

The first step to protecting yourself from cyber crimes is to ensure that all of your devices, whether a desktop, laptop or cellphone, are kept up to date. New cyber threats emerge daily, and OS and software updates often can address them. This includes updating your web browsers—something that’s easy to overlook.

No computer should be without anti-virus protection (not even Macs). Preferably, your anti-virus software should include additional cyber attack protection, such as firewalls and spam filtering.

2. Secure Your Home Network

Most people don’t change the default passwords their devices are shipped with. These default passwords are widely available online. Armed with this information, hackers are able to take control of peoples’ routers and other smart devices, often without their knowledge, that are then used to launch a massive cybersecurity attack.

Advertising

  • If you have not yet changed your router’s default password, do so immediately, as well as the default passwords for your smart TV and any other smart devices in your home. Hackers can use ‘unsecure these devices’ to break into your network and make their way to your computer.
  • Ensure that your wifi network is secured with WPA2 and requires a strong password for access. Change the default password your internet provider assigned you when your internet service was first connected.

3. Stick With Known Retailers And Double-Check URLs

Sticking with popular and reputable e-commerce sites, such as Amazon, Walmart, or eBay, is always a good practice. However, it is incredibly easy for hackers to set up a phoney version of a legitimate retailer’s website, so always check to make sure you are accessing the website you think you are:

  • When in doubt, use an online fake website detector.
  • Beware of buying from sites with domains that end in “.org”, “.tv”, and other extensions that are almost never used in e-commerce.
  • Look for a “green lock” indicator directly to the left of the URL. If this is missing, this means the site does not have a high level of security that has been guaranteed by a known entity such asVerisign or Symantec.
  • Make sure that the website’s address begins in “https,” which indicates that the website is secure and the information provided by you will be encrypted.
  • Double-check the site’s URL for minor variations in spelling.
  • Type in the URL by hand or use your browser bookmark; never follow links from social media posts, emails, or SMS messages.

4. Be Careful Using Mobile Shopping Apps

Mobile internet access is exploding, with mobile representing over 65% of all digital media time – and apps are being used more often than mobile websites. Mobile analytics company, App Annie, reported that consumers spent a whopping 80 million hours on mobile shopping apps in the week leading up to Black Friday this year. Shopping apps are convenient and often offer better functionality on a mobile device than a website. However, just as hackers can set up phoney websites, they can also build fake shopping apps, so follow these precautions:

  • Download shopping apps only from reputable sources, such as the Google Play Store or the Apple App store.
  • Before downloading an app, read the reviews and comments to see if anyone else noted something suspicious – or if the app has nothing but glowing reviews that sound like they were all written by the same person.
  • Don’t just click “I agree” without reading what permissions an app asks for. Read them carefully, and if you see something that bothers you or that doesn’t make sense, such as if the app wants to access your contacts, don’t allow it to do so – or discontinue the installation.

Additionally, you should always log out of online shopping (and banking) apps completely after you are done using them, and don’t let your mobile device store any of your passwords or payment information. Enable a passcode on your phone or tablet in case your device is stolen.

Advertising

5. Pay Safe

When shopping online, payment methods matter:

  • Never pay for an online purchase with a wire transfer; this is a favorite method of scammers.
  • Avoid paying with debit cards or e-checks, as this could tie up the money in your bank account during a dispute. Use a credit card with strong fraud protection or a Paypal account that is linked to one.
  • If you don’t have a credit card, use a prepaid debit card.

Additionally, you should never access your bank account, make purchases, or transmit any other sensitive data over public wifi networks, such as those found in hotels, airports, and restaurants. If you need to buy something or access your bank account while on the go, set up your mobile phone as a secure wifi hotspot and tether your computer to it. Make sure that you set up the tethering using a secure password and WPA2 security, and turn off the tethering capability when you are finished using it.

6. Consider Using a VPN

For extra protection when shopping or banking online, consider using a VPN, or a virtual private network. A VPN creates a secure, encrypted connection between your computer and the VPN provider’s server, allowing you to make purchases and access your bank account even on an unsecured or public wifi connection. This prevents anyone from intercepting your activity in a man-in-the-middle attack. Using a VPN is easy and requires no additional hardware, and any desktop, laptop, or mobile device can use a VPN. There are multiple VPN services available; some are free, while others require a paid subscription.

Advertising

Shopping apps, “deal” websites, one-click checkout—the same technological advances that have made online shopping so easy have also made it possible for hackers to compromise the networks of even the biggest retailers. But by taking proactive steps to protect yourself and your personal data, you can keep cyber criminals from spoiling your holidays.

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Hira Saeed

Startup Evangelist

Tech deals and Mergers 10 Biggest Tech Mergers and Acquisitions of 2016 Top 10 Design Predictions for 2017 5 Useful Chatbots for Small Business Owners 6 Tips to Make the Most of Your Used Gadgets 6 Tips To Stay Secure While Shopping Online

Trending in App

1 Introducing 13 Useful Free Apps For you To Install Today 2 7 Essential Tools Every Serious Startup Needs 3 13 Secret Google Functions That Can Instantly Make Your Life Happier And Easier 4 Appraisal of the iPhone Family Tracker app 5 13 Google Apps That Can Greatly Simplify Your Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on August 6, 2020

10 Best Power Banks to Top up Your Phone at Will on the Go

10 Best Power Banks to Top up Your Phone at Will on the Go

The alert beep for low battery serves as a death call when you’re running late for work or are out on the town and need to make a call. Luckily, a super convenient alternative to your regular charger and charging wires is available in the form of power banks[1]. Easy to carry, lightweight, and affordable power banks have become the perfect companion for every mobile phone. In order to assist you in making the right choice for the purchase of power banks, we have compiled a list of the best power banks to guide you.

Why Trust Us

The importance of a well-charged phone cannot be underestimated. Keeping this in mind, our team has gone through many reviews and product descriptions present on the most reliable tech websites. From the smallest and lightest portable chargers to those that come with several years of warranty, our featured power banks will not let you down and will be worthy of your investment.

1. Anker PowerCore 10000mAh Portable Charger

    As the best power bank the market offers, Anker PowerCore has a battery of 10000 mAh, which can charge three and a half iPhone 8 or two and a half galaxy s8 charges. The power bank has PowerIQ and voltage boost technologies, which can charge your phone in no time. Large size-to-capacity makes it a convenient item to carry in your pocket.

    To ensure the protection of your device, this power bank from Anker comes with a multi-protect safety system. The box also includes a portables charger and micro USB cable. You can carry it around safely with the included travel pouch. An 18-month warranty and friendly customer service are also included to give you a perfect power bank experience.

    Pros

    • Large size-to-capacity ratio
    • High-speed, universal charging
    • Red, blue, black color options
    • One of the smallest and lightest portable chargers on the market

    Cons

    • Qualcomm quick charge is not supported
    • The battery may not work well after some time

    Get this power bank here!

    2. INIU 20000mAh Power Bank

      Made of top-quality materials, the INIU Power Bank charges your phone 1.4 times faster with UPower+ technology. It works smartly by identifying your device and simultaneously increasing the current output. What’s great is that you can charge two devices at the same time. INUI recognizes its place as the thinnest lightweight power bank on the market.

      The paw indicator on the power bank illuminates its remarkable design, and it includes a flashlight inside, which can be used in emergency conditions. You can charge the power bank quickly with a micro USB or a type-C cable. Consequently, it’ll save you the hassle of finding the specific cable for a charge. INUE comes with a three-year warranty to give you peace of mind.

      Pros

      • Thin and lush design
      • Dual 3A output
      • Flashlight included
      • U Power+ technology

      Cons

      Advertising

      • It doesn’t come with a pouch
      • Standby time is less than six months

      Get this power bank here!

      3. Miady 2-Pack 10000mAh Dual USB Portable Charger

        An all-in-one power bank solution for your needs, Miady includes two 10000 mAh battery packs. The power bank contains two USB output ports with an equal amount of current distribution. While one can charge 2.4 times for iPhone X, 3.6 for iPhone 8, and 2.2 for galaxy S9, you won’t be needing a socket anytime soon.

        You will be able to charge the power bank in 5 hours at 5V and 2A. Miady contains a reliable Lithium-polymer cell, and you can also carry the power bank on a plane. It can power off and on automatically if the device is disconnected for 30 seconds. This portable charger is compatible with 99 percent of smartphones and is one of the cheapest power banks available on the market.

        Pros

        • One of the best-value options compared to its rivals
        • Efficiently distributes current output
        • Vibrant color options like yellow and purple

        Cons

        • Not suitable for big devices like the iPad

        Get this power bank here!

        4. Anker PowerCore 20100mAh Portable Charger

          Anker 20100 mAh Power Core offers a huge amount of battery capacity. As one of the best power banks on the market, the 20000 mAh battery capacity can charge an iPhone 8 almost eight times or an S8 five times. In addition, the power bank can hold a charge for up to seven days, so you don’t have to plug it into the wall again and again.

          You can use the voltage boost and power IQ recharge to charge a phone efficiently and quickly. The power bank is also pocket-friendly and certified safe as it ensures protection for your smartphone or tablet and you. Its dual-device output enables you to charge up to two devices at the same time. Anker is made out of premium material to give you the best durable power bank on the market.

          Pros

          • High-speed charging
          • Huge 20000 mAh capacity
          • Enormous 4.8-ampere output
          • Certified safe

          Cons

          • It may start charging slowly after a few months of use
          • Qualcomm quick charge is not supported

          Get this power bank here!

          Advertising

          5. Anker PowerCore 13000mAhPortable Charger

            Another Anker, the Anker PowerCore 13000 Portable Charger offers a huge battery capacity in a sleek design and has the ability to charge an iPhone 8 up to 5 times and an iPhone X or an S9 three times. You can also charge your phone or tablet with the two high-speed ports that are included. Anker comes is a smaller size than that of a wallet and is one of the best lightweight power banks compared to its battery size.

            Anker is 30 percent lighter than most other power banks. Power IQ and voltage boost technologies are included for fast-charge devices. Power IQ also identifies devices to calibrate the charge to your phone.  Anker has surge protection technology and short circuit prevention. You can rest assured that it will take care of you and your devices. Plus, you are covered with an eighteen-month warranty.

            Pros

            • Power IQ technology
            • Super high capacity
            • Red, black, blue, white color options

            Cons

            • No Qualcomm quick charge
            • Wall charger is not included

            Get this power bank here!

            6. GETIHU 10000mAh Portable Charger

              GETIHU offers high-quality power banks with their 11 years of experience in the market. The GEITHU portable charger has a certified Lithium-ion battery, which gets it the approval for airline travel. With the help of an LED display, one can know how much battery is left. You can quickly charge up to two devices with 4.8 Amperes at the same time.

              High-speed charging is accompanied by a smart IC to auto fit your smartphones. It can work with both big and small Android devices. GEITHU can easily fit inside your bag as it is slim and portable. Choose to take it with you with the travel pouch and feel comfortable taking it everywhere as it has a three-year warranty.

              Pros

              • LED display with the battery percentage
              • The 4.8-ampere charges two devices simultaneously

              Cons

              • The LED display may not show the correct amount of charge left

              Get this power bank here!

              7. Anker PowerCore 26800mAh Portable Charger

              Advertising

                Anker PowerCore offers a massive battery, which makes it one of the best power banks on the market. The 26800mAh worth of charge can charge phones more than six times. It has three USB outputs so that you can charge three devices at the same time. Power IQ and voltage boost make the high-speed charging available for all three devices.

                You can charge the whole power bank in 6 hours. The two micro-USB inputs double the recharging speeds. It is light and durable, which makes it the best companion for your travel needs. The multi-protect safety system protects you and your devices. Friendly customer services and an 18-month warranty are there to provide you with the peace of mind you need when you get the Anker PowerCore.

                Pros

                • Triple device charging
                • Dual-input power bank charging
                • Superior safety
                • A week’s worth of power

                Cons

                • Performance may decrease over time
                • A bit heavy due to the big battery

                Get this power bank here!

                8. RAVPower 16750mAh Power Bank

                  RAVPower offers a vast battery of up to 16750mAh in size. It can charge your iPhone 11 two and a half times, S10 for 3.3 times, or an iPad for a full charge. With a current output of 4.5 amperes, it can charge up to two smartphones at the same time. You can quickly charge the power bank with a two-ampere charger in about 9 to 10 hours.

                  The flashlight is included in the power bank for emergency use. RAV is also tested against high temperature. Its iSmart technology tests your device for the optimal current value needed. Premium batteries comprised of lithium-ion can charge a device more than 500 times.

                  Pros

                  • Impressive 16750mAh battery
                  • iSmart technology

                     Cons

                  • It does not hold a charge well over time

                  Get this power bank here!

                  9. RAVPower 15000mAh Power Bank

                     

                    Advertising

                    RAV power bank features a controlling IC and iSmart technology. These come together to offer a fast charge for your smartphone or tablet. You can take your iPhone 11 from 0 to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. iSmart 2.0 can adjust according to your charging device and offers the necessary current. It’s possible to charge up to three devices at the same time with three outputs.

                    The portable charger can be charged within 4.7 hours with the ultra-fast charging, thus saving you 40 percent recharging time. RAV can fit comfortably in your pocket or your hand. An LED digital display shows you exactly how much charge is left inside. High-end lithium-ion batteries, along with protection technology, give you peace of mind wherever you take this power bank.

                    Pros

                    • 30W total tri-output and fast recharge
                    • Led digital display

                    Cons

                    • Weighs a bit more than most power banks

                    Get this power bank here!

                    10. LANLUK 25800mAh Power Bank

                      The LANLUK 25800 mAh portable power bank can charge your phone 5 to 7 times, and it is perfect for any type of work that you are heading out for. You can charge up to two devices simultaneously with the help of two outputs.

                      The high-quality lithium A+ polymer battery is used to give you peace of mind as the power bank protects itself from overheating and overcharging. The portable charger is compatible with nearly all the phones and tablets. 18-month customer service is available to give you even more peace of mind. It is an all-in-one power bank solution for your needs.

                      Pros

                      • High capacity battery
                      • Highly compatible

                      Cons

                      • Not permissible on planes

                      Get this power bank here!

                      Bottom Line

                      Choosing the best power bank is a bit hard task as there are many types of power banks available in the market. The one that you’d like to choose must depend on your needs. If you will go out for a long hike or a long trip with no power socket input, then the one with a bigger battery will be useful. However, if you need a solution to charge your phone while in the office, then something with a lightweight and durable design will be a better choice for you.

                      Choose one of the best power banks from above and never worry about your device dying again.

                      Featured photo credit: Steve Johnson via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      Read Next