Online Shopping: 10 Tips For Safe Online Shopping

Have you ever bought a product or service from the internet?

Yes? Me too. You’re not alone…

Some of the reasons why most people are shopping online are: they can buy anything at anytime because Internet shopping is available 24 hours, all the time.

You can shop from the convenience of your home. You can avoid traffic and crowding at the malls.

Online shopping is one of the best ways to locate hard-to-find items not available in your local stores.

Whatever you buy can be delivered by mail to your house.

Most online stores and companies provide excellent values and discount prices because they do not have to pay the overhead of owning a physical business that will cost them insurance, employee pay, taxes and more.

VeriSign, Inc. says that online sales recorded during the prime holidays shopping season was about $2.2 billion dollars.

According to a study by Forrester Research Company, by 2010, online sales will reach $331 billion dollars.

More consumers are shopping online today than a year ago. The range of products they buy are many: software, hardware, electronics, digital products, music, toys, e-books, books, programs, DVD, flowers, pets, jewelry, clothes, air tickets, insurance, cars, prescription drugs, comic books, games, gifts and more.

They are flocking to buy from online bookstores, software stores, online computer stores, target stores, pet stores, liquor stores, drug stores, music stores, furniture stores, fabric stores, the Disney store, outlet stores, surplus stores, discount stores, thrift stores, gift stores, candy stores, lingerie stores, sports stores, video stores, sex stores, department stores, game stores, clothing stores and others.

Be a smart and savvy online shopper. Shop wisely and safely.

Here are a few tips to help you do your online shopping safely.

(1) Shop at the websites of companies that you know and are popular offline.

If you’re not sure of the company, request their catalog or brochure first.

Be sure they have a physical address and phone, as well as an e-mail address. Call them and speak to a human being first.

Check with the yellow pages and the Better Business Bureaus to be sure the company is legitimate.

Read all the fine print and the refund policy before you place an order.

You may read about product reviews and what other shoppers have to say about a company at:

http://www.epinions.com, http://www.consumersearch.com, http://www.productopia.com, http://www.deja.com

Here are some internet shopping agents’ sites:

[http://www.comparenet.com], [http://vo.infospace.com], http://bottomdollar.com

To read about reviews on shopping stores, regarding ease of use, pricing, selection and service go to:

http://www.gomez.com, http://www.bizrate.com , http://www.ratingwonders.com

To read about web business frauds and get help to avoid being a victim, go to:

http://www.fraud.org , http://www.bbbonline.org , http://www.webassured.com

(2) Keep a record of all your purchases.

Most people are by nature disorganized and unable to keep records. Learn to keep records of all your online purchases. This will help you keep track of your spending and shopping.

Print all receipts or save them on your computer in a folder named “receipts”.

This will help you locate orders that you placed but were never delivered.

The more organized you are the less negative online shopping experience you’ll have.

(3) Keep all your important personal information safe.

Don’t give them to strangers who may call you over the phone or request them by e-mail.

Personal information includes: your address, e-mail address, phone number, social security number, drivers license, age, information about your family.

Don’t give them to any stranger and, also, teach your children not to do so.

(4) Keep your passwords private.

When creating a password, avoid using phone numbers, birth dates or social security numbers.

Be creative. Use a password that is not easy for others to guess, and yet not easy for you to forget.

Change your passwords often. Use phrases to help you remember them.

Don’t disclose passwords to anyone.

(5) Use a credit (but never debit) card to make your payment.

Be sure to keep all credit card payment receipts. Check your credit card account statements to be able to spot any unauthorized charges.

When you buy certain goods and services from some companies, sometimes they will keep billing you thereafter. So scrutinize your statements. If you see a charge you’re not sure of, call the billing merchant and check it out.

Keep your credit cards secure.

Avoid making a payment using your credit card on a public computer.

Report any lost credit cards immediately and have them cancelled. Don’t give anyone that you don’t know your credit card number.

(6) Read the return policy before placing an order.

Be sure that you read and understand the return policy and warranty.

(7) Read and understand the company’s privacy statement (or policy).

A privacy statement tells you how and why a business is collecting your information, and how that information may be used.

You may find the company’s privacy statement (or policy) at the very bottom of the home page or inside their “Terms & Conditions” or “Terms of Service” (TOS).

(8) Use a secure browser and server.

Be sure whatever browser you’re using complies with the industry’s security standards, such as secure sockets layer (SSL).

This security protocol scrambles or encrypts the personal information you send over the Internet to ensure your transaction is secured.

How do you know if the server is secure where you’re making a payment?

If a Web site is using secure technology, its Web address begins with https and a tiny locked padlock appears at the bottom right corner of the screen.

(9) Check out a few stores and compare prices before buying.

Look for hidden costs such as shipping and handling.

(10) Use Yahoo Search Engine for all your searches.

Yahoo continues to be, not only the largest online company, but also, the best Search Engine.

Unlike the other popular Search engine, which keeps companies in a sandbox for many months and refuses to give them rankings for many months, Yahoo is pro business and gives immediate rankings to companies and business.

Their search result is also excellent. That may be one reason why 60% of people online (including me) love Yahoo.

Also, they have the most reliable and the best hosting service in the world.

For these reasons, I strongly recommend you use Yahoo to do all your searches.

Happy and safe online shopping.

Warmly,

I-key Benney

Boom Barrier – Tips and Guidelines

Automatic Godrej Boom Barriers offer efficient Security at the exit and the entry points of Factories, Office Complexes, Condominiums, Parking lots, Toll tax plazas or any road-way entry where medium to heavy traffic is expected. It ensures your security for your buildings, Electronic Accessories etc. designed for heavy-duty operation Godrej Boom Barrier with sleek and modern looks.

In case of Vehicles the Boom Barrier’ s optional beam sensor provides further Protection. Dual speed and electronic braking of the Road Barriers optimize time and maximize safety. These unique features of the road barrier ensure quick opening and closing of the boom with soft landing. The Road Barriers have a great choice as they could be integrated into or linked to any number of remote systems. Such examples are Automatic Number Plate Recognition System, token system wherein, standard issue tokens or even high security tokens could be integrated into the existing system.

Almost all the automatic road barriers are a very important part of the efficient traffic management system that is seeing increasing usage day by day all over the world. The Boom Barrier is activated either by a single touch push button or remote control. Electronic control panel of the Traffic Barrier is designed such a way that it has to accept signals from optional controls and safety accessories like Beam Sensor, Smart Card Reader, Loop detectors etc.

Road Barriers offer you traffic control with an attractive package of road signal devices such as Road Barriers, Spike Road Blocks, Pedestrian Controllers, Parking Control Signals etc. Steel Boom Barrier is designed to prevent forced vehicle entries, vehicle ramming and vehicle based terrorist attack. Security sensitive sites are making use of Hump Spike Road Block, Flat Spike Road Block, Turnstile Security Gates, Flap Barriers etc.

Twelve Key Questions You Need to Ask About Your Computer Security for Your Home or Business

Security technology is only a part of an overall security plan. If you own a small business or a home-based business, or if you’ve been tasked with implementing security at your organization, developing a comprehensive security plan should be a very important part of your overall security strategy. Get the information you need to get started on the right track! In the computer/internet security game, the best move is one of Prevention! Prevention! Prevention!

With that in mind, here are the twelve questions you need to be asking, or, at least, be thinking about if you’re serious about preventing or stopping security risks, threats, and attacks:

1. Do I have a solid security policy or strategy?

If you don’t, begin immediately to get sample security plans, policies, and best practices for your business and/or home.

2. Where would I go for key information and news on keeping your information private?

Search the internet for managed security services. Ask if they provide a free computer test to assess your pc’s level of vulnerability. Ask if they provide the latest tips to keep your privacy and protect your personal information and that of your business. Or simply – ask me.

3. Does my disaster recovery plan include redundant back-up and data recovery systems?

Understand what a good data back up system is and how to best recover from a disaster.

4. Do I know how to create safe passwords?

Learn how to write virtually un-crackable passwords.

5. How do I train my employees or family members to be secure?

Get all leading research on what to teach about security.

6. What do I do if my employees are my biggest security risk?

Learn all about social engineering and insider hacking.

7. What or who is a hacker?

A person who uses and/or creates software technology to break into the computers of individuals, businesses, government, and organizations for personal gain is known as a hacker. Often after he, she, or they hack into a computer, they can control it secretly by remote, making it a “zombie computer”.

8. How does he (or she or they) break into home and business computers?

If they don’t have the break-in software, they can buy it off the black market, or create it, themselves. With this technology, they use their malicious software to look for holes in the computers of their targeted victims.

9. To what extent might my home or business computers be vulnerable to hackers, hacker’s tools, viruses, etc.?

You will never know unless you take the time to test your computer to see what holes are open, by what back doors (up to 65,000 portals) are malware entering your computer.

10. What is “drive-by hacking”?

Because wireless Internet access points have become popular for homes and businesses, home and business computers have now become a major target for hackers. In this new phenomenon, called “dive-by hacking”, hackers simply take their laptop computers in their cars and drive through business parks or residential neighborhoods remotely scanning for open wireless networks.

11. Would I know if someone tries to hack into my computer?

Depending on the security measures you have on your computer and the sophistication of the hacker’s software program, you might or might not be aware. Using keylogging programs, these cybercriminals can secretly see and record every keystroke you enter on your computer, thereby gaining access to all your private and personal information.

12. I have all the security measures, anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall I need. Can I still be hit by hackers and other pc-disabling attacks, risks, and threats?

Again, depending on the security measures you have on your computer and the sophistication of the hacker’s software program, your computer or computers might or might not be compromised. Remember: Cybercriminals are superintelligent criminals! They somehow always seem to stay one step ahead of authorities and anti-cybercriminal software.

Obviously if you have to ask these questions, then you need to take immediate steps to plug the holes and cover the gaps.

So, here are some steps you can take immediately to implement, increase, or improve your present security measures:

* Learn all you can about hackers and the tools and methods they use to invade your privacy and cause problems. Subscribe to a comprehensive source of Internet security research, news and information for small and mid-sized businesses and organizations, or other professionals, that want to increase their level of security and build on their current technologies and efforts.

* Take advantage of the research already done. Get access to information about the leading topics in the security field, including hackers and hacker tools, viruses, data back up, writing good passwords, government and legal issues, protecting from insider hacking – and more.

* Stay current with important security news developments. Work with a managed security firm that maintains an entire library of the most beneficial news articles, white papers and other links that you can use to maintain an excellent awareness of cyber-security issues on an ongoing basis.

* Need help creating a security plan for your organization or business? Take advantage of professional security consulting and training both by telephone consulting or on-site visits. Get vulnerability assessments, employees training, security implementation, and much more.

Because cyberpredators and other cybercriminals are becoming smarter and more sophisticated in their operations, they are real threats to your personal security and privacy. Your money, your computer, your family, and your business are all at risk.

These cybercriminals leave you with three choices :

1. Do nothing and hope their attacks, risks, and threats don’t occur on your computer.

2. Do research and get training to protect yourself, your family, and your business.

3. Get professional help to lockdown your system from all their attacks, risks, and threats.

Remember: When you say “No!” to hackers and spyware, everyone wins! When you don’t, we all lose!

© MMVII, Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, The Internet Safety Advocate and Educator

Business Travel Security Good Practice

Travelling, especially abroad, inevitably takes people out of their familiar environment. Additionally, when travelling for business purposes the travellers themselves often have to contend with a busy schedule and the effects of jet lag, all in a sometimes alien climate and foreign language. Given the pressures on businesses to be efficient it is very often the case that business travel planning is rushed and business travel security is neglected or ignored completely. It is only when an incident occurs that the importance of business travel security becomes apparent and by then it is too late.

It is always better to prevent problems than have to deal with them and observing business travel security good practice can provide peace of mind and allow business people to focus on their core business tasks. This brings benefits to both the employers and travellers themselves. The employers can show that they have exercised a duty of care towards their staff and be confident that they have taken reasonable steps to protect their company assets, human, physical and critical information. The individual business traveller can benefit from enhanced personal safety as well as ensuring the protection of their personal data by following simple business security good practice.

Business travel security good practice starts with good planning and so the things you do before departure can have as much effect on the security implications for your trip as the things you do when you are there.

Depending on the nature of your trip, the budget you have available, and time constraints, it may be sensible to obtain the services of a specialist business travel security consultant, but if for whatever reason this is not possible there are some things you can do, prior to departure, to help ensure your security and safety.

Obtain as much information as possible about your destination, its laws, customs and climate. This will allow you to travel without attracting too much attention to yourself. You should also obtain a specific threat assessment relevant to your destination to give you advanced warning of the type of potential problems you may encounter. The depth of information required in the threat assessment will depend on the destination itself, clearly more detail will be required if visiting one of the worlds terrorism hotspots, but the threat of crime is universal. The UK and US government provide free online advice for their nationals travelling abroad and local newspapers, often available online and in English are also a good source of destination crime information.

Prior to travelling you should sanitize your laptop, mobile phone and any other electronic device you plan to take, removing all personal details and critical commercial data. In a perfect world you would leave your regular devices at home and take a clean device on the trip, but if that is not possible then backing up critical data before travelling is essential, as is using a different password during the trip. Also ensure that anti-spyware and virus protection on any devices you do take is current.

Business travel security good practice includes taking a copy of important documentation such as passport and driving licence prior to departure. Leave a copy at home and take another copy with you, but kept separate from the originals, this will be a great help in the event of loss or theft.

Set up an emergency protocol, to be enacted in the event of an incident and have this written down. This will give you a procedure to follow, crucial when you are in a stressful situation in an un-familiar environment. You should know emergency numbers at your destination as well as emergency contact numbers at your own organisation.

Taking care of business travel security properly should give you peace of mind and allow you to properly focus on the purpose of your trip, taking care of business.