Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Password Protection Tips for Online Shoppers
Online shopping was once seen as quirky and impractical, but it has proven that not only is it a viable consumer option, it is also a mega pipeline for billion dollar businesses. In fact, many experts expect to see the growth of the online shopping industry increase in ways that will eventually make offline shopping somewhat obsolete. Already we see that during peak shopping months like December, online sales statistics sometimes top the revenue figures for brick and mortar stores. And this phenomenon has not been ignored by the bad guys, particularly those who make their money by computer-aided theft, fraud, and hacking. If you are concerned about whether or not your online shopping transactions are safe and secure, you are in good company. Even the experts on the subject say that it is a matter of concern, and they advise ways to remain vigilant in protecting our critical personal data. By being aware of the potential for criminal exploitation of our online shopping experiences, we can defend ourselves against such things, and our stress and worry can be transformed into a healthy awareness of our modern need to take reasonable security precautions. The biggest vulnerability of all is that we have special words and codes we use to identify ourselves, since we are not involved in old-fashioned face-to-face business transactions. That means that it is easy to pretend to be someone else, if we have someone else’s personal passwords. Just as covert operators like secret agents do during wartime, thieves can discover our secret passwords and then use them to cross over into territory where they can easily attack us and wreak havoc, plundering our well-guarded assets. The trick to outwitting these crooks is to have codes that are impossible – or next to impossible – to decipher. Password protection is a serious business, and we should take it just as seriously as we do the practice of locking our doors at night or walking on well-lighted streets instead of darkened alleys. Experts recommend that we do not use passwords related to information that could be found out about us easily. For instance, your birthday, street address, and dog’s name are probably not well protected. Anyone with the determination to research those things could find out such personal info about you, and if you are using those dates or names for passwords, they can hack your accounts. It is better to use more obscure and random passwords that have no other relevance to your personal identity. And when creating a password, use a random mix of both numbers and letters. Some computer programs used by culprits will automatically try all combinations of numbers, for instance, to find the one that opens your account. By tossing in a few random letters, you can scramble these attempts and thwart them. Another important piece of advice is to update your passwords regularly, by changing them to new ones. Don’t use the same password on more than one account, and change your passwords on a regular basis, at least a few times each year. Once you’re sleeping peacefully in the knowledge that you have done everything possible to protect yourself online, you can shop the Internet with confidence and reassurance.