Magazine Articles - 10 - Focus Magazines for Over Wyre and Garstang

Computer Safety no. 9: 31-August-2013

Last month we started looking at the topic of safe shopping and banking online, and specifically about being careful when using external wifi or public computers.Make sure that your laptop is fully updated with all security patches etc

secured wireless networkWhether you are shopping and banking in public or in the comfort of your own home, there are a number of precautions to take. Make sure that your laptop is fully updated with all security patches etc (article 3), and protected by a firewall and updated anti-virus software (article 4). If you use online banking, make sure you have installed any extra security products recommended by your bank, eg. Rapport which locks down the connection between your machine and your online bank system, checks the bank website you use is genuine, and stops your data going to counterfeit sites.

web addressesTry to type the shop or bank website address (URL) directly, eg. or, rather than finding them through a search engine or clicking on links in an email. Take care when typing the URL, it needs to be correct as even a small spelling mistake could take you to a dodgy site. If using a new retailer, make sure they are reputable – ask your family or friends and do a search online to see if there are any complaints.

Double-check all details of your purchase before confirming payment, and never enter any payment details without checking that the link is secure – the web address should normally begin with “https://”; a padlock symbol should appear in the browser window frame (not on the page itself); and with some browsers the address bar or the name of the site owner will turn green.

credit card paymentsPaying by credit card offers greater protection eg. if the retailer goes bust before your goods arrive, but doesn’t always help in cases of fraud it the bank thinks you haven’t taken enough precautions. If you want to give your credit card details to as few sites as possible, or if you are buying from online auction sites such as eBay, then consider setting up a PayPal account - this allows anyone with an email address to make (and receive) payments online, and is especially recommended if you are buying from an individual rather than an established business.

When shopping online, you will probably be offered the opportunity to register for an account “to make it easier in future”. If registration is optional, think carefully about whether you are likely to use the site again and maybe leave it until next time. Whenever supplying details to a shopping site, only give information which is reasonable to complete the purchase. If a website asks for more details than necessary then stop and think – it could be a bogus site. Even on a genuine site don’t give away more than the minimum needed. On the internet, information is a valuable commodity and every bit of data about you and your online habits could be worth something to a person or business.

Next month – Social Media.

As ever, if you have any questions or concerns about security, then please do give me a ring for a quick chat.

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Publication Details

  • Date: September 2013 /
  • Publication: Over Wyre Focus & Garstang Focus
  • Page: Over Wyre - 28 / Garstang - n/a
  • Link: