Shopping online? Here’s how to protect your digital privacy 

Online shopping has increasingly become the go-to method for shoppers looking for both essential items and some relaxing retail therapy. The trend’s popularity stems from the days of the pandemic and lockdowns, during which members of the general public were unable to leave their homes because of the virus. While online shopping is not a new thing, it was this timeframe that truly enhanced its popularity quite a lot with the average consumer. The ease and accessibility it provides by reducing the time you have to spend browsing through items at the store is beneficial for people with packed work schedules as those dealing with mobility impairment. 

If you want a product that is not available in your country but which can be ordered from a warehouse overseas, there is probably a site somewhere that will set in motion a supply chain that can bring that very item straight to your doorstep. But as incredible as the online world can be, it’s essential not to disregard data safety. Although it can sound like nothing more than alarmist rhetoric, the truth is that there are actually many ways in which your personal data and finances could be affected. Luckily, all it takes is a little extra attention and caution in order to remain safe. 

Strong passwords 

Having a strong password is a prerequisite to having a safe online shopping experience, and all your accounts require different ones. Make sure to update them regularly, as changing them up means that there’s less of a chance for a hacker to crack them. Since your online shopping accounts are also connected to your payment data and card details, you want to choose codes that are quite complex and which include both uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers. The more intricate and convoluted a password is, the better. 

Sometimes the fact that unauthorised parties obtained your data has nothing to do with you, but rather with service providers who may have disregarded their duty of care towards you. In this case, you can look into the particulars of data breach claims in order to receive the maximum amount of compensation you are owed that can make up for the financial and mental distress that comes with digital attacks. 

Wi-Fi connection 

It’s not just your accounts that can be hacked, but your Wi-Fi network as well. If you want to do some online shopping, you should wait until you’re home and use your own reliable and secure connection. Public Wi-Fi networks that are accessed by large numbers of people on a daily basis are the furthest thing from safe, especially since they’re easily accessible by anyone who happens to pass by. You have no way of knowing who else is connected to the network at the same time as you, so although doing some quick shopping while relaxing in your favourite coffee shop can sound very appealing, you should probably leave it for later. 


Scams are, unfortunately, a common occurrence in the vast landscape of the internet, one that you may sometimes not even be able to recognise. When online shopping is concerned, the main issue is fake websites posing as genuine ones with the sole aim of obtaining your money and card credentials without delivering anything. In some cases, you might also receive a defective item or something that you didn’t order in the first place. Some scammers have become very adept at mimicking actual websites, so make sure to always check the URL very clearly, as the differences can be minute. And if you receive any email from a brand asking for personal data, you can be confident that it’s a trap, as no reputable company would ever do that. 

Extra security 

One of the best ways to enhance security measures when shopping online is to use 2-factor authentication. If you have to use multiple devices in order to confirm your identity, hackers will be locked out of your accounts, and you don’t have to worry about them getting unauthorised access to your information. Moreover, you should make sure that anytime there’s a payment being made from your account, you are notified or have to give your express accord in order for a fee to be processed and completed. You should check your records regularly in order to spot any expenses that have not come from you, and in case you notice such irregularities you should contact your bank promptly. 

Software updates 

Updates are pesky and annoying things, often interrupting you just as you’re getting down to do something important, but they’re also crucial for the security of your device. Every single one comes with critical security patches that help your systems withstand or minimise the impact of hacker attacks. As the hackers become better equipped to deliver rather serious blows even to systems with all security measures in place, having the extra help of the updates can only prove beneficial. If you don’t want to deal with the updates while working, arrange for them to be installed when you’re ready to go to bed or at the beginning of each day. 

Remain attentive 

The online world is fast-paced and constantly changing, so you must be aware of the latest news affecting it. For instance, there might be a new type of malware infecting devices through emails or social media platforms, and in order to protect yourself from its effects, you need to know what the standard scam messages are so that you can avoid them. Don’t click on any links unless you’re absolutely sure they come from a trustworthy source. Even then, if something about the message looks suspicious, it doesn’t hurt to ask beforehand. The other person could have been targeted by a virus and not even know it. 

While online shopping naturally comes with many benefits, there are also several things you need to be mindful of to protect the security of your online data. Keep in mind that retrieving any lost funds or impacted data can be quite troublesome, so it’s always best to be safe rather than sorry.