How to Protect Your Privacy When Shopping Online
The rise of online commerce has made it easy for businesses to scale and grow. With companies like Amazon allowing individuals and small businesses to leverage its platform to develop, everyone now has an opportunity to scale seamlessly.
E-commerce makes it incredibly easy to get what you want. The convenience that e-commerce provides is pretty much the driving force behind its growth. People can shop from the comfort of their couches and get what they ordered in a few days. That surely beats going to a store and having to carry your product home by yourself.
The Dangers of Shopping Online Unprotected
However, the caveat to online shopping is that security is now more volatile. Hackers know that the world population is drawing closer to e-commerce, and they’re also priming themselves to steal as much information as they can.
In a nutshell, here are some of the most prominent risks that you face when you shop online without the right protection:
1. Identity Theft: Identity theft is undoubtedly the most significant threat that you could face when you shop online. The Federal Trade Commission confirmed that there were 3.2 million fraud cases in the United States in 2019, with identity theft accounting for 650,572 of them — a significant 20 percent of all fraud cases.
Identity theft involves criminals stealing your information and using it to make purchases online.
2. Credit Card Fraud: Another significant risk is credit card fraud. Malicious users find your credit card information on a website’s payment portal, steal it, and use it to make purchases online. They usually do this by redirecting shoppers to exact replicas of payment pages.
3. Malware & Adware: When checking out an online store, you could encounter pesky ads that threaten your user experience. However, some ads are malicious and could compromise your security. The ads might look appealing, but once you click on them, they install malware on your computers and steal your information.
How to Protect Your Privacy When Shopping Online
Dealing with all of these is quite terrible. It’s only logical that you will need to protect yourself online. One of the most secure and efficient ways to do this will be through a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
To be fair, the main objective of a VPN is to change your location and help you to access certain parts of the internet that are otherwise restricted to you. However, a lot of VPN apps also come with privacy protection tools that will help you surf the web seamlessly and securely.
Let’s review the top ones.
When it comes to security, there’s hardly any VPN that beats ExpressVPN. It incorporates military-grade AES-256 encryption and a kill switch that cuts data flow once you’re not connected to the network.
ExpressVPN also provides Domain Name System (DNS) leak and Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) leak protection. This service offers optimal security on all fronts. ExpressVPN won’t take any customer logs, so it doesn’t have any information on you. Pair that with crypto payment options, and you’ll experience complete privacy.
You can access ExpressVPN on all major platforms. If you use Chrome or Firefox, there is also an extension available.
NordVPN is another provider that has a legitimate case to the title of the best VPN service. So, you know they don’t take security for granted. This service is as safe as any on the market, with the ubiquitous AES-256 military-grade encryption. The service protects against DNS, IPv6 leaks, and other attacks. A no-logs policy ensures that they don’t take any of your information.
Keep in mind that there’s a kill switch here too. If you’re looking to achieve optimal privacy, you could take advantage of any crypto payment option available.
NordVPN is available for macOS, iOS, Windows, Linux, and Android. Shoppers using Firefox and Chrome browsers on desktop platforms can enjoy extensions too.
SurfShark is another excellent VPN when it comes to security. It has a robust catalog of privacy-protection tools and accessibility to all leading platforms. So, you can connect it however you would like.
Like ExpressVPN, SurfShark has DNS leak protection, WebRTC leak protection, and AES-256 protection. There’s a kill switch available too, so you’re safe even if you’re no longer connected to the network.
Perfect Forward Secrecy ensures that your data is always protected against hackers by frequently changing encryption keys. The service also maintains a no-log policy, so it doesn’t hold your information. If you’re ever looking for optimal privacy, SurfShark is a reliable option.
Factors to Look Out For When Selecting a Good VPN
Selecting a VPN service is never entirely easy. There are many reliable options out there, and you might get confused when making a choice. However, some factors might help you with making a choice. Here are a few critical ones:
Since you’re shopping, you need to make sure that your VPN service is secure and reliable. You need safe connections with minimal risk, so be sure to consider its security features. The most secure VPNs collect no logs, have a strong encryption standard, and protect against leaks. They also feature kill switches and hide your IP address effectively.
Speed remains one of the most critical VPN factors. No one wants to wait for hours for a web page to load. So, make sure you have a VPN that features optimal speed.
A VPN service is no good if its reach is limited. If you’re using the VPN to also get into some restricted aspects of the internet, you want a provider that has servers in several countries. Availability is also essential if you travel across countries regularly. A high-quality VPN will help you to connect to your subscribed services, regardless of where you are.
- Ease of Use
You don’t need a VPN that requires you to become a tech expert. Make sure not to compromise on user experience when you’re considering your VPN service. There are many hassle-free VPN services out there, and you can check them out.
- Free trials and pricing
These two go hand-in-hand. The best VPN services aren’t free, but they don’t have to cost you a fortune too. A free trial will also help you test the VPN’s full features to see if you’re comfortable.
Online shopping is pretty convenient and can help you in some tight situations. However, the increased popularity of this activity has also made it a particular risk to internet users. To ensure your optimal protection, you need a VPN, one with the best security features. Any of the following will help get you on the right path. Check them out to see how they work for you.