Haste Makes Waste

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The phrase ‘Haste makes waste’ is used to refer to doing something too quickly that causes mistakes that result in time, effort, materials, etc. being wasted. Sometimes we cut corners or take shortcuts in the name of convenience or efficiency, such as autosaving our personal details, onto our favourite online shopping platform.  As eager as we are to complete our transactions, we should always take the time not only to review our purchases, but ensure that the payment method that we are using is secure.

A recent report recorded e-commerce revenues amounting to US$4.1 billion in 2018 within Singapore and anticipated that to grow by 15.6% by 2023.  As more retailers move toward e-commerce platforms and increased reliance on digital solutions, cybersecurity becomes critical in keeping personal data safe. However, like a double-edged sword, the growth of these platforms comes with the growth and evolution of cyber threats.

These days, the availability of goods and services online make shopping very convenient for the consumers. From being able to purchase travel deals, household and personal gadgets, apparel, furniture and so much more online, consumers are spoiled for choice in a ‘store’ that never closes. This, however, does make consumers more complacent, when it comes to completing their transactions.

One such act of complacency is consumers choosing to save their passwords on their browsers or personal devices, keeping them constantly logged in. The ESET APAC Consumer Behaviour 2018 survey showed that 33% of respondents keep all their accounts logged in on their desktops while 49% of respondents keep all their accounts logged in on their mobiles. This is alarming as the survey also revealed that 33% of respondents use their laptops or desktops to complete transactions, while 55% use their smartphones. 

Statistics for Online Shopping Risks - Singapore (2)

By taking such shortcuts, consumers expose themselves to more risks than they realise. Should any malicious acts occur, their personal and financial information are left exposed to hackers to take advantage of. Earlier this year, dozens of Apple customers had hundreds of dollars unknowingly drained from their bank accounts, after being billed for purchases they did not make on their iTunes accounts.  This was the result of unauthorised iTunes transactions on the victim’s accounts by other users who had attained the victim’s data. As the festive season draws closer, here are some tips for good cybersecurity practices, as you shop online: 

  1. Don’t autosave – First, if you’ve ever saved any account details on your devices because you’re afraid you’d forget it or it makes things easier, you should consider removing it. The extra time you spend on entering your personal and payment details over and over will amount to much less hassle than if your details were ever stolen. 

  2. Authorised apps only – When shopping online, ensure that you are using authorised, trusted apps from the app store. Fake apps that are designed to steal personal data are becoming more rampant these days. 

  3. Secure your connection - You can also turn off wireless networks when shopping in a public location, using just cellular data instead. This is to prevent an attack, which could see criminals direct you to a spoofed Wi-Fi hotspot name to steal your credentials, and then your bank details.

  4. Use your credit card - Credit cards should be used when shopping online. Not only are they disconnected from your main bank accounts, but they are also insured against fraudulent charges. There’s also less chance of identity theft and a better chance of getting a refund in the case of illegal activity.

  5. Less not more - The more computers, tablets and mobile devices you use with your credit card information, the more you’re at risk for fraud. Stick to just one or two machines if you can.

At the end of the day, ‘Haste makes waste,’ and convenience isn’t always the key. Taking that extra step of rejecting the option of autosaving your information, can potentially save you tons of hassle.