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Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

10 Most Important Tips to Make Your Online Shopping Safe and Secure

Internet is becoming one of the vital need of any human being. People use it for more than just watching movies or playing games. One of the example is of online shopping.
Annual Retail Sales

More than $200 billion is spent only on online shopping, which keeps on increasing on daily basis. The exponential growth in internet penetration across the world and the upward movement of ecommerce business participation has given rise to activities of black hackers and internet police involvement. That’s what I refer them as!

These are the people who stays somewhere and monitors everything you do online. They are interested in nothing from you; but, a tiny loophole to exploit.

If for any reason you play with your credit card details and it falls into the hands of these people, you’re in soup! But how can you be sure that you’re always safe online, if not all the time, at least most of the time?

Online Shopping Experience: How to stay safe and secure.

Here below are some of the points, which should be taken into account while doing Online Shopping.

1. Is the website genuine?

Genuine Website

  • Go for genuine website.
  • Look for “https” in the URL address bar which appears in Green Color.
  • If “http” is typed rather than “https” then know that the website is not trustworthy.
  • All the shopping website, have a SSL (Secured Socket Layer) Certificate, which shows that their website is genuine and secured.

2. Do not use public Wi-Fi

Do not use public WIFI or free WIFI

  • You will be lured to get connected with free Wi-Fi, but by doing that you are also connecting with unwanted risks related to security.
  • Better to avoid online shopping or any other financial transactions on Free Wi-Fi Zones.
  • You are not aware who are connected with this Wi-Fi and how much secured it is.
  • If you want to connect, do it using something which change your IP address, such as virtual private network.

3. Company is Not Fake

Company is Not Fake

  • First research then purchase.
  • If the company is fake, you might get duplicate product or you might even lose your money.
  • Check twice before trusting any company.

4. Is your Anti-Virus Updated?

Is your Anti-Virus Updated

  • Keep your anti-virus, firewall and all the security software updated.
  • If it’s regularly updated, definitely it will inform you whether the website is safe or malicious and infected with virus.

5. Use Strong Password

Use strong password to stay secure

  • Keep your password strong.
  • Put alphabet, numbers and special characters in your password.
  • For more security it’s best to use 2-way verification as Google provides.

6. Big NO – NO to Too-Good-To-Be-True offers

If it's too good to be true, something is wrong

7. Avoid It

Don't click on any unsolicited emails

  • Avoid clicking links sent in email from unknown sources.
  • Never allow internet browser to store your confidential details.

8. Keep in Check with your Transaction Details

Take note of transactions details

  • Keep a look at your bank & credit card transaction activities.
  • If you feel suspicious about any transaction, then it’s likely something is wrong.
  • Use Credit cards compared to Debit cards as both use different type of securities.

9. Product Reviews

Healthy and good product reviews

  • Major online shopping websites like eBay & Amazon offers the facility of giving product reviews.
  • Look at the reviews given on the product you desire to buy.
  • Reviews are given by genuine buyers, so you can clearly know whether the product you are planning to purchase will be good for you or not.

 10. Asking too Much Information – Something Fishy

Asking too much information - something is fishy!

  • If you have to go through lengthy form fill up procedure during registration, and you feel something is wrong, then most probably it is.
  • Something is wrong if during registration, they ask for confidential information such as credit card number, bank account details.

Take-home tips to safeguard your internet shopping experience

  1. Technology has given us several benefits but with them certain drawbacks also came along.
  2. Security breach and online fraud is one of the example which is becoming a number one issue.
  3. Little precautions should be taken from our own side.
  4. Risk is involved with Online Shopping.
  5. If security is not proper, customer can put themselves in danger, as their personal credentials could be misused.
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US Data Hack; Sex, Lies and Debt scandals potentially Exposed

Filling up a US clearance application, a 51-year-old military man disclosed his 20 years affair with the wife of his former college roommate, this information is supposed to be classified and remain secret between him and the government.US data hack, China as prime suspect

Washington was shaken up last week when information released that hackers had penetrated a database containing intimate and possibly blackmailing information about millions of private and government employees.

Hacking the White House Office of Personnel Management (OPM) could be a gold mine for foreign spies.

The 51 years old military man who upgraded his clearance when he got a job with a defense contractor was just a scape-goat of embarrassment and blackmail from the hacking.

He had successfully kept the affair from his wife for two decades before disclosing it on the government’s Standard Form 86 (SF 86) filled out by millions of American citizens seeking security clearances.

The announcement that the OPM’s data had been hacked frightened former and current US government personnel as they realized that their secrets about drugs, sex and money scandals could be revealed to foreign government.

The data that may have been compromised during the US Data hack which Associated Press reported included specifically detailed information on the SF 86 “Questionnaire For National Security Positions” according to US officials.

US Data Hack, China as Suspects

On a different attack on OPM disclosed earlier this month, the act was linked to China by US officials, though they aren’t so about the origin of the second attack than that of the first.

China had denied partaking in any of the US data hack.

As the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) performs its own clearance investigations, other agencies like the Defense Department, State Department and National Security also uses the OPM’s service to some degree.

The news did not specifically unveil how many Americans’ information may have been compromised. The SF 86 as of Oct 1, had 4.51 million cleared or is worthy to receive national security information as released in a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

Professionals on Intelligence said the US data hack may be disastrous as China may use this to locate relatives of US officials abroad as well as evidence of drug or love affairs which could be a tool to blackmail or influence US officials.

“The potential loss here is truly staggering and, by the way, these records are a legitimate foreign intelligence target,” said retired Gen. Michael Hayden, a former CIA and NSA director. “This isn’t shame on China. This is shame on us.”

The SF 86 form is 127 pages long, and it’s regarded and extraordinarily comprehensive and intrusive.

Some of the information required by applicants to list includes; where they lived, travel abroad, contacts with foreign citizens; personal details of relatives, illegal drug use and mental health counseling etc.

Security appeal denials published on the web shows various information in the hand of hackers, including infidelities, psychiatric diagnoses, health issues, arrest, financial troubles and substance abuse.

A former senior US diplomat said “It’s kind of scary that somebody could know that much about us.” These data could be used to impersonate and American official online, get password and explore bank accounts.

Less Vulnerable Agencies from the US Data Hack

An A.U.S. official who knows more about security procedure speculated some agencies that do not employ the OPM for clearance giving a clue that there employee data could have been excluded from the compromise (the US data hack).

The former senior diplomat said someone with a complete set of SF 86 data and names of U. S. embassies officials which are usually public could compare both and make guesses about who might be a spy.

“Negative information is an indicator just as much as a positive information,” said the former diplomat.

The case of the military man who informed the government but hid a 20 year affair from his wife came to lime light when he filed an appeal in effort to upgrade his security clearance ran into trouble.

The man according to a May 13 decision by an administrative judge, who heard the case, revealed the affair in the “Additional Comments” section on the SF 86 in January 2012, ended the affair in 2013 and told his wife in 2014.

According to a Defense Office of Hearings and Appeal document published online, the judge wrote ” Department of Defense (DOD) is aware of the affair because Applicant disclosed it on his SF 86; the affair is over; and the key people in Applicant’s life are aware of it.”

His access to classified information was approved.