By definition a transaction is “an occurrence in which goods, services, or money are passed from one person, account, etc., to another”, you could say an exchange of information between two parties.
Every time you purchase a product online or sign up to a social media platform you are completing an online transaction. In some shape or form you are paying for an exchange of services.
$1,471bn per year is produced in online retail sales worldwide according to statists.com. A lot of money is poured into encrypting users credit card information and data to gain the consumers trust and promote online transactions. Many people are concerned about browsing online securely and completing credit card transactions via the internet. The lack of user awareness for the protection of ones privacy and information which is easily accessed, has lead to a rather misinformed user base if we are honest with ourselves.
According to TransUnion, every minute about 19 people fall victim to identity theft. With the increase in new forms of completing online transactions, can encryption technology keep up with this growth?
So what information am I divulging when completing transactions online?
In terms of completing purchases online East-Tech describes step by step how one could get a hold of your credit card details etc should you have auto-fill settings enabled in your google chrome browser. All that needs to happen is for you to lose your laptop or for someone to gain access to your wifi key. Check this video out from the BBC of how quick someone could gain access to your wifi key.
Since it seems we have to give up personal information in order to enjoy the ease of completing online transactions, we need to arm ourselves with effective privacy tools. Educating yourself on the dangers of hackers intercepting your transactions or the consequences of giving up information over social networks is crucial and we should all increase our privacy awareness. There is an abundance of privacy software and tools which you can install that will let you browse online securely.
How do I protect myself and my data?
Review the privacy policies of the sites you visit with the chrome extension Privacy Snapper and learn about privacy online with Privacy Shell. When making a purchase make sure the website is using https:// and the checkout cart, e.g PayPal, securely encrypts your details. Delete your browsing history and clear your cookies and cache. Do not use auto-fill for sensitive information and definitely enable ‘do not track’ in your browser settings.
When using social networks be mindful that even your friend’s applications may have access to part of your profile. It is preferable not to share any information or image to which you are not comfortable relinquishing your ownership. Privacy is a human right but online, the users are the ones who need to take measures to protect that freedom.
We are all very much aware this is the age information. Let us protect the power we as individuals gain from it, rather than having to forgo due to the security concerns having outweighed the benefits.
About Amy Rudolph
Amy is a well traveled web developer. With a love for technology and appreciation for freedom she is very keen to carry out Privacy Shell’s mission, to encourage the use of technology with a heightened privacy awareness.