The state of Washington Office of Cybersecurity has recently posted a good article related to information security and online shopping at http://cybersecurity.wa.gov/resources/security-tips/. This is a good time of year for this kind of reminder as we all are taking advantage of the convenience and ease of shopping online.
It cannot be emphasized enough that we each must constantly take care with our private information, particularly financial information like bank accounts and credit cards, and particularly when using or accessing such information using mobile devices.
Don’t trust public computers or wireless networks (even the college’s public Wi-Fi network) to be secure enough for these kinds of transactions. It is not difficult for a malicious actor to be able to intercept wireless signals as they pass between your phone and the most secure wireless access point, thus having access to obtain whatever information you type into your device. This could include account numbers, user names, passwords and personal identification numbers (PIN).
Do your online shopping with a trusted wired connection as often as you can (not with public computers like in a library or college computer labs–you never know if the person using it before you compromised the machine). If you must use a mobile device, like a phone or tablet, be certain to follow the OCS guidelines to make your shopping “trip” as uneventful as possible.