Using a secure connection, reading privacy policies, and avoiding email links can help a computer user make secure online transactions. In addition, a reputable anti-virus and firewall program should be installed to prevent malicious code from recording keystrokes. Making transactions on the Internet cannot be entirely risk free, but it is possible to significantly reduce the likelihood of identify theft, privacy invasion, and more.
A secure connection encrypts information sent to the website, making it harder for hackers to steal personal information. Although encrypted online transactions are not foolproof methods of protecting credit card numbers, addresses, and phone numbers, they are better than nothing. Before banking or purchasing something online, the user can ensure the transaction is secure by looking at the uniform resource locator (URL). The URL should start with https instead of http, which means hypertext transfer protocol secure. Depending on the browser, a user might also see an image of a closed lock next to the URL.
Lastly, a company’s website can be 100-percent legitimate, but the user still has a credit card number stolen the moment it is entered. This has nothing to do with the company’s website, but the user’s computer. Keyloggers are malicious computer programs that record what the user types and sends it to someone who gathers and usually sells the information. When a keylogger is installed, making secure online transactions is difficult at best. These programs can be avoided or stopped by regularly scanning a computer for malicious software.