Advice from The Internet Society: How encryption secures the holiday experience in December 

[via the Internet Society]

Most consumers do not understand how important encryption is to their own personal security.  But they don’t need to be tech savvy in order to keep their personal information as secure as possible.

75% of Americans will do holiday shopping online, and nearly half fear becoming a victim of fraud.

Encryption is a tool designed to help Internet users keep their digital data and communications private and secure. It plays a critical role in protecting day-to-day digital activities like online banking, shopping, preventing data breaches, and making sure private messages stay private.

Six keys for securing your holiday and shopping experiences:

  • Shopping online:  Ensure websites you visit use HTTPS (visible in the menu bar). This ensures that only the sender and intended receiver can read the information, and no other parties can see your information along the path from transaction to purchase.
  • Shopping in stores:  Use credit cards with embedded RFID chips.  Encrypted technology in the chip makes it much harder to steal your credit card information.
  • Say no to saving info: If an online retailer gives you the option to save your information for next time, it’s better to say no.  Many retailers store customer information securely using encryption, but not all do. Companies can’t lose your data if they don’t have it.
  • Public Wi-Fi: While convenient, using public wi-fi is risky for online shopping. Bad actors can watch, or intercept, your online transactions.  Make sure any websites you browse use HTTPS so your information is encrypted, especially during payment activities.
  • Sending messages to friends and family: Use messaging apps such as What’sApp and Signal which use end-to-end encrypted technology
  • Video chat with friends and family: Use FaceTime or Skype which uses end-to-end encryption to secure the call from your smartphone or computer to others