We are never very far from our next online purchase. Need airline tickets? Click here. Want a new sofa? Enter your credit card info. Looking for a little entertainment, like “renting” a movie or gaming online? Pick your saved payment information and confirm.

But how do you know that your information is safe? Any time you spend money, whether it’s for travel, clothes and home goods, or playing games, you’re putting your information and wallet at risk. This is especially for important gamers to realize because they’re a big target for cybercrime. You don’t have to become a victim though. Follow these tips to keep your money and identity safe when paying online.

Updates

You know those pesky software update notifications that we all hate getting? Pay attention to them. Software manufacturers use these updates to patch “holes” in the programing that can allow for bugs and yes, hackers. Keep your apps and system updated so that you’re only using the best, most up-to-date technology online.

Back Ups

Imagine if you lost all the information you stored on your computer– passwords, records, documents, etc. How hard would it be to reset and replace all that data? To prevent this, back up your computer regularly and store the information safely. That way if the worst should happen and your computer is attacked, you haven’t lost everything.

Protection

More than ever, you need to use a reliable protection system on your computer to identify and eliminate threats. Think you just need to protect your computer? Think again. You should also have protective apps installed on your tablets, smart phones, and any device that connects to the internet.

“Security Enabled” Icon

Whether you’re banking, shopping, or gaming, you want to make sure that any credit card or bank account information you enter is fully encrypted and protected. Keep an eye out for the trademark “Security Enabled” seal and don’t give your information to sites that don’t have it. Don’t see it? Look at the web address. “Https” means that the site is secure, but “http” sites are not.

Firewalls

A firewall is your first line of defense. A good firewall checks and protects incoming and outgoing information, flagging and blocking suspicious activity. Think you’re covered by installing one on your computer? No, you need to put firewalls on your phones and tablets, too. Remember that every internet-connected device is at risk, not just computers.

Router and WiFi Protection

Don’t keep the router name and password that comes with the box. A simple step to protecting your information is to change the name of your router to something not easily guessed by hackers. And you need to change your WiFi password, too. Want to share your WiFi with guests without risking your security? Take a tip from Starbucks and set up a guest WiFi account.

Equipment Protection

The last tip is to keep an eye on your actual equipment– phone, tablet, or computer– because physical theft is an easy way for someone to hack your information. Don’t leave it on the table at a restaurant while you get a refill or loan it to a friend. Neglected equipment is gold for hackers. Don’t make it easy for them.

VPN

A VPN is a virtual private network, you connect your computer or device to the VPN and the VPN masks your original IP and location from the sites that you visit.  VPN is a secure way to browse the internet as your device location and IP is unknown to the visiting site.  This also has the additional ability to mask your country of origin or access region locked content by accessing content only available for another country.

These are just a few tips to get you started on protecting your information. Whether you’re trying online roulette for the first time or shopping, with a few easy tools, it can be safe and secure, too.

Tom Parillo

Tom Parillo

I am interested in all things technology, especially automation, robotics and tech that helps change how society will live in the future.