Safe Online Shopping Tips for THE FESTIVE SEASON

The festive season is upon us and with it comes a rise in consumer spending. With barriers to internet entry coming down in South Africa, online shopping transactions are bound to increase significantly. Let’s be honest, if you can shop in the comfort of your home with a few simple clicks, why deal with bumper-to-bumper traffic and long, unending queues?

However, as convenient as it is to shop online, citizens are urged to take extra caution in a digital era that brings with it with vulnerabilities and exposes people to possible online fraud.

As part of government’s efforts to improve cyber-safety for citizens, Minister of Communications & Telecommunications in South Africa, Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams recently launched a cyber-security awareness campaign in Eersterust, Pretoria. The campaign creates awareness around internet usage, teaching community members the basic dos and don’ts of using the Web. According to IT Web, the campaign is driven by the National Assembly’s decision to pass the Cyber Crimes Bill.

Much of our personal data is stored in cookies. (According to Mozilla Firefox, a cookie is information stored on your computer by a website you visit.) Because information on the internet is easily accessible, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development drew up the Cyber Crimes Bill to “create offences which have a bearing on cybercrime, to criminalise the distribution of data messages which are harmful, and to provide for interim protection orders, among other issues”.

Increase in internet penetration and social media usage has encouraged entities like Facebook to seek appropriate partners in communities across South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa for economic cohesion in the ICT space.

In a recent interview, Head of Facebook Africa, Ms Nunu Ntshingila, told Brand South Africa: “We work with NGO’s and youth groups such as JOX Africa and J Initiative across the continent to provide them with collateral focused on youth safety.”

In South Africa, Facebookhas launched a Youth Online Safety Programme (Ilizwe Lam – a Xhosa word for My World) in partnership with Digify Africa. Aiming to train 1 000young people between the ages of 13 and 18 nationwide, the programme explores cyber security andprovides practical tips and guides on how to manage privacy online.

How can you protect yourself online?

Tips:
Capitec shares the following pointers on staying safe in the digital banking space:

Never give your personal details and banking information to anyone
– Treat emails and pop-up windows asking for your personal details with suspicion
– Never respond or reply to an email that:
– Prompts you to enter your personal details directly into the email or submit this information in any other way
– Threatens to close or suspend your account if you don’t take immediate action by providing your personal details
– Asks you to participate in a survey where you have to enter your personal details

For general cyber security tips, Cybintsolutions.com suggests:

Practicing good password management. Never leave your devices unattended. If you need to leave your device for any length of time, ensure that it is locked.
– Practicing safe clicking. Be aware of attachments or links in email, especially if you don’t know the source.
– Beware of Browsing. Banking or shopping, should only be done on your personal devices via a trusted network.
– Backing up your data regularly. Don’t be afraid to invest in a good, secure anti-virus software that is always up to date.

Additional sources: IT Web, Capitec, Cybintsolutions