Is Online Shopping Safe?


Quick Answer

Online shopping is relatively safe because online retailers implement security measures, some visible and some behind the scenes, to protect customer information. The operative word is "relatively" in light of the fact that no medium, online or offline, can guarantee 100 percent security. However, individuals can enhance the protection by taking additional personal precautions, such as installing security software, keeping passwords secret and being discriminating when providing personal information online.

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Is Online Shopping Safe?
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Full Answer

It may be safer to shop online than in person because it's generally easier and more profitable for cybercriminals to steal customer data from cards swiped in physical stores than from cards used in online transactions. The customer data pilfered from online cards isn't sufficient enough for hackers to make counterfeit cards; they need the data hidden in the magnetic strips to really do their damage. Moreover, without a physical card, thieves are limited to making fraudulent online charges.

Cybercriminals have sophisticated malware tools specifically designed to hack into in-store payment systems and steal credit card data. Such point-of-sale malware, or BlackPOS, has infected the cash registers of big-name stores like Office Depot and Target, which is why Brian Krebs, a leading cybersecurity expert and the writer of the cybercrime blog KrebsonSecurity, said he felt it was safer for people to shop online than in a physical store.

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