Cybersecurity has always been a common concern among governments, businesses, and consumers. In recent times, online fraud and identity theft have become even more rampant. With more people using the internet for services and tasks like banking, investing, and shopping, cybercriminals have also stepped up their game.
Fortunately, technological advancements have made it easier to fight online fraud, identity and data theft, and other cybercrimes. Here, we list six ways that people can use technology to prevent online fraud while keeping their identities and data safe from hackers.
A virtual private network (VPN) is an excellent tool that businesses and consumers can use to keep themselves safe from online fraud. Sadly, a study by Statista showed that only 63% of people in the United States use a VPN at work. Another survey, this time conducted by Forbes, revealed that 43% of participants weren’t sure what VPNs were.
For clarity, a trusty VPN encrypts and secures a network’s connection with other online networks, protecting data against phishing attacks and other threats. This is especially useful when a person connects their device to a public WiFi connection. Examples of public wireless connections are the internet services provided by cafes, airports, libraries, and so on. Without a VPN, the connection goes through a public WiFi service, allowing hackers who are connected to the same network to steal others’ data.
If an individual uses a VPN, it redirects the internet traffic via a configured remote server. This hides the user’s IP address and encrypts their location, browsing history, and other data.
Recently, VPN usage has become even more commonplace due to the work-from-home policies of most companies. It helps them and their employees mask their IP addresses and secure sensitive information. No matter what device is being used, whether it’s Windows, Mac, or any other, a fitting VPN can help avoid many dangers online.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a basic and underrated technology that people can use to safely browse and transact online. It creates a secure and encrypted connection between servers and clients so that people can safely browse, transact, and shop on websites.
Most likely, you’ve used SSL before but just weren’t aware of it. Savvy websites that use SSLs will have the letters “https” at the beginning of their URLs instead of simply “http” without the “s” (the “s” stands for “secure.”) Another tell-tale sign of an SSL connection is a green padlock in the address bar.
How can you ensure that your connection is secure?
If you use a mobile banking app, make sure to only use the official app of your bank. A secure mobile banking will ask you to enter your login details and use biometrics such as facial recognition or a fingerprint. When downloading the app from an app store, read its description properly and ensure that it’s a legitimate app from the company.
Moreover, never visit links from third parties that tell you to visit or link your bank account. This could expose you to fraud and make you a victim of unsolicited check fraud, check-cashing fraud, overpayment scams, phishing, and automatic withdrawal scams.
3. Password Manager
Another important tool for combating online fraud is a password manager. This app ensures that all your passwords are strong and secure.
Usually, people change their passwords only once. They also use the same passwords on different accounts with slight modifications, such as adding a number or symbol for easy recollection. However, the growing prevalence of cybercrimes makes it important to use strong and unique passwords on all accounts.
Here are other handy password tips to keep in mind:
- Keep your passwords safe by storing them in a password manager.
- Opt for a two-factor authentication system on every account you own.
- Ensure that all your passwords have at least 12 characters.
- Use a mix of capital and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers.
- Avoid using obvious words like “password.”
- Don’t use your name, account username, address, and other personal details.
4. Multi-Factor Authentication
During the pandemic, there was a 282% jump in account takeovers among online businesses. This was a natural result of hackers successfully stealing weak passwords, giving them access to payment information and the ability to place unauthorized orders.
One of the best ways to secure your account is by using multi-factor authentication (MFA). When customers enter their passwords, MFA gives them the option to receive a one-time code through SMS or email.
The transaction will only push through if the user can supply the access code for the account. If the transaction is being performed by an unscrupulous individual, they won’t be able to enter the code since they don’t have the account holder’s mobile phone or email access.
The second layer of authentication can request the user to share:
- Knowledge (something you know), for example, a PIN a password, or answers to secret questions
- Possession (something you have), for example, a credit card, a phone, a token, or a key fob
- Inherence (biometrics or something you are), for example, a biometric entry method using fingerprint, retina scan, or facial or voice recognition
5. Identity Theft Protection Services
Identity theft protection services scan public records and the dark web to check if your data is compromised and up for sale or if there are any unauthorized high-risk online transactions under your name.
Identity theft protection services continuously review user behavior to detect fraudulent transactions or unauthorized access. They also inform you about data breaches so that you can take immediate action.
These services are connected to credit cards, bank accounts, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and other online accounts, making them easy to use.
6. Malware Protection Services
Hackers use malicious software or malware to illegally access private data that are stored on devices. Malware can steal, alter, delete, and encrypt data, take over the core functionality of a device, drain battery life, or feed on network speeds.
There are various forms of malware, such as viruses, trojans, worms, ransomware, and spyware, that can break into your device. Hackers typically send malicious links or ask you to install programs from untrusted sources, posing a risk even to such secure devices as Mac. Considering the prevalence of malware threats, having a reliable antivirus, including those tailored for Mac, for example, is crucial for enhancing the security of your device. These malicious links usually come in the form of files or attachments in emails that are actually phishing scams.
Malware protection services are an important solution for keeping computers, smartphones, and other devices safe from malware. They protect business and personal data from fraud.
Note that your VPN may already have malware protection, so check its features before buying this service.
The internet has made so many aspects of our lives more convenient and accessible, but it also comes with certain vulnerabilities that need to be addressed. The tools and security practices we mentioned are crucial for keeping your accounts and identity safe in today’s modern world.
For one-stop solutions to cybersecurity issues, look to Infosys for help. Their online security services can protect computer networks, systems, and data from fraudsters and other cyberattacks.
Leading the online security firm are founders Rohit Dalvi and Raunak Hajela. Together with Infosys Advisors Taher Mandiwala and Ahmed Tanwar, they are creating a safer digital environment for their clients.