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Tips for safe online shopping for Raksha Bandhan

The coming week seems to be filled with festive cheers. And with Raksha Bandhan round the corner, brothers and sisters crowding the stores or gift shops for that perfect gift. Those who spend weekdays in offices working find it difficult to shop in the over-crowded malls and shopping centres during weekends. And they just don't have the time during the weekdays to shop for their sibling.
Online shopping could come in handy for such shoppers. Avoiding crowded malls, traffic jams or standing in gigantic billing queues make a strong case for online shopping. But they come with their own set of security issues. Following tips are helpful to make online shopping a safe and enjoyable experience:
Check the authenticity of the shopping portal. In case of big stores as they regularly advertise about their shopping portals. However, there are some basic visual safety symbols which indicate the vendor's legitimacy. VeriSign logo or a green browser address bar is a definite sign that the website is valid and safe for online shopping and other transactions.
Secondly, genuine websites have their addresses starting with 'https://' (not just 'http://). Here the letter 's' stands for security, which implies that the communication between your browser and website's server is encrypted. So it's secure and cannot be intercepted by third party fraudsters.
Do not impart with too much personal information on any shopping portals.
If you are planning to use your credit card for online shopping you require an additional password. In technical jargon, this is called two-factor authentication. The first level is the usual keying of the user name and password. The second level could be providing an additional password, numeric security code, answering personalised questions which only the customers are expected to know. The idea is to provide additional and personalised layers to carry out online banking.
It matters where you by your products online. Cyber cafes are a big no-no for online transactions. If you try to access sites from an internet cafe, the line and systems are not secure. You can not be sure how authentic the software on the cafe's system is. Further, desktop cookies are saved in the system and smart hackers will use those to access your bank accounts. Even locations that offer online connections through wireless networks are unsafe for online shopping.
Personalised desktops in office or home are a safe bet. But you have to scan the system at least once a week to ensure it's free of virus. Viruses often get downloaded through some free downloads, MP3 or movie downloads. They can erase, overwrite or copy data from the infected computer, corrupt and encrypt files. There are a couple of programs called 'Spy Ware' and 'Trojan Programs' designed to capture your strokes and hack your password.
You can combat such security issues by using additional security measures such as virtual keypad if you are using net banking. Virtual keypad is an online application, where you can substitute the physical keyboard with a mouse. When you click on the virtual keyboard option at the time of net banking, the monitor flashes a keyboard on your screen. You have to use the mouse to click on the relevant keys to sign into your net banking site.

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