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 Friday, 17 April 2009

The British Computer Society (BCS)'s website shares information and advice on how to stay safe while shopping online in a set of "Golden Rules" compiled by Global Secure Systems (GSS).

The twelve golden rules to safely shopping online include the below (detailed information available on the BCS website):

  1. Most malware exploits are known problems with software and operating systems. The hacker, or code writer, is relying upon people being lazy and not keeping systems up to date. For this reason it is very important to keep your anti-virus product up to date with the latest signature files and operating system updates from Microsoft.
  2. Never go online without ensuring you have your personal firewall enabled.
  3. Don't ever select the remember my password option when registering online as your passwords are then stored on the PC, often in plain text, and are the first thing that a fraudster will target. Some
  4. Ensure that your credit cards are registered with your card provider's online security services such as Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode.
  5. Use only one card for online shopping, maintaining a limit on the card as low as possible or even using a top-up card for your online purchasing.
  6. Be sure to use a credit card and not a debit card.
  7. Be sure to check your statements regularly, and if there is any sign of irregular activity, report it straight away.
  8. Always check for the little padlock at the bottom right hand corner of the browser (when using Internet Explorer) before entering your card details. 
  9. Make a habit of checking the site's privacy policy for details of how your personal information will be used and only provide the minimum of personal information, especially in online forms.
  10. Never shop from sites that you arrive at from clicking links in unsolicited marketing emails (spam). 
  11. It is important to remember that you could be doing everything right, but that the vendor may do something wrong. A vendor may well be storing all your credit card data on a single server.
  12. Finally, don't rely on previous customer's testimonials - they are part of the organisation's marketing and not necessarily factual. The golden rule of commerce is still the same as it ever was - if the offer looks too good to be true, it probably is!

The full set of "Golden Rules to Safe Internet Shopping" can be found here.

For more information see the British Computer Society (BCS) and Global Secure Systems (GSS) websites.