6 Top Tips on Making Safer Online Purchases

Online shopping is the easiest and most convenient way to shop these days, but cyber criminals can take advantage of this and use it as an opportunity to steal your personal data.

Here’s our 6 Top Tips for Making Safer Online Purchases:

1. Watch out for fake websites
It’s easy for criminals to create websites that look exactly like other retailers, boasting incredible deals to entice you in. The quality of fake sites varies; watch out for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and make sure the URL looks correct. If you’re in any doubt go direct to the website – don’t follow links in emails, on other websites, or in pop-ups.

2. Consider paying by credit card
Credit cards give you protection. If something goes wrong like you don’t receive the goods, or they are faulty then you will be able to claim the money back, as long as it’s over £100, but less than £30,000. If the item was less than £100 you may still be able to claim the money back, so it’s always worth checking.

3. When using public wifi make sure your devices are secure
Wifi hotspots are now available in coffee shops, restaurants and shops, providing unlimited access to the internet almost everywhere, but if you use them, you should make sure your devices are protected with security software and avoid making any purchases. Cyber criminals can use these networks for cyber-attacks and can even crate fake hotspots.

4. Make sure that the site is secure
Never purchase anything that is from a site that doesn’t start with https at the start of the URL. By having https at the beginning of the URL means that the all communication between your browser and the website you are visiting is encrypted. However, it’ also important to know that Cyber Criminals will use https in the URLs for fake sites, so you still need to be vigilant (refer back to point 1).

5. Watch out for scam emails
Phishing emails are a common way for cyber criminals to try and gain access to your personal details. They are incredibly deceptive and designed to look like they’re from a trusted source, such as your bank, or favourite online shopping website. It may even take the form of an invoice for a purchase you haven’t made. These emails usually contain links, which you should never click on. If you receive an email you think may be a scam, check the email address and URL. Your bank will never email you asking for personal details. If you’re concerned go direct to the company’s official website and login to check.

6. If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is!
There will be a lot of genuinely good deals available during the sales, but if it seems too good to be true, then do your research. Check the authenticity of the website, call the retailer if necessary – don’t make yourself vulnerable to cyber-crime.

QiC are certified partners for Webroot EndPoint Security Products. We recommend Webroot to replace existing Anti-Virus, Malware and Ransomware protection. If you have any questions regarding cyber security or would like a free assessment of your IT systems call QiC today on 01962 711000.

QiC’s Top 5 Tips to Protect Your Business from Ransomware

1. Emails – Most Ransomware attacks occur as the result of a user opening an attachment that has come in on an email. This email may look innocent enough, and in some circumstances could even appear to come from somebody within your own company. All users should be extremely cautious before opening attachments. If there is any doubt that the attachment could be malicious, contact the sender to ensure it’s legitimate. The same advice applies before opening links in emails. These too can be a source of Ransomware and should only be ‘clicked’ if you are 100% sure that it is a valid link. If in doubt, contact the sender before actioning anything within an email.

2. Websites – Malicious websites can be a source of attacks. Only go to reputable websites where possible. Do not click on links to get to them, it is much better to type the initial web address into your browser and navigate to the page you want.

3. Anti-Ransomware Software – due to the nature of ransomware attacks, anti-virus software is not able to fully protect you. QiC is now offering a specialist new anti-ransomware software from Sophos, one of the leading security vendors. It compliments your existing AV product, offering good protection levels at a reasonable cost.

For a short overview of Intercept X, the new anti-ransomware software from Sophos, click here.

4. Security Patches – Your PC’s and Servers should be security patched on a regular basis. If your organisation uses QiC to patch your systems, take advantage of our Healthcheck Service, then you can be assured that everything is up to date. If not, you should choose to apply Windows Updates to your systems as soon as possible. Individual software such as web browsers may also have their own security patches that should be applied where possible, refer to the vendors website for details.

5. Backups – In the event that you are hit with a Ransomware attack, you will be faced with two options. You can pay the Ransom or get your systems ‘cleaned’ and then restore backed up data. If you have employed QiC to look after your IT systems, then QiC will make sure that you have valid backup copies. If you, or a third party, look after your backups, please ensure they are valid before requiring them! Test restoration of data is one method to ensure this happens.


If you have any further questions regarding Ransomware attacks or would like to find out more about our services please contact QiC on 01962 711000