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Whether you are trying to pay a bill, order something online or just trying your luck at an internet casino, safety of the payment system is of paramount importance. A single mistake can result in phishers and scammers stealing your financial details, which could prove to be very costly. So, how do you make sure that your financials are safe while spending money online? By sticking with reliable websites and trusted payment systems. How do you make sure they are safe options? That's exactly what we are going to discuss next with the help of the following points.


Safety Begins at Home


The computer you are using to surf the internet is the first thing that you need to secure. Make sure that the OS running on it is original first because that's the most important aspect of cyber safety. Next, you need to install a good antivirus software with real-time internet protection. This will give you continuous protection even if you are led towards a phishing page or a site that's deemed unsafe. The antivirus will detect and stop suspicious activities automatically and warn you of the danger immediately.


Use e-Wallets


The main advantage that electronic wallets have over using credit cards and debit cards directly is the fact that they keep your card information safe. For example, internet casinos are a hotspot for cyber criminals, so they are always looking to phish card info from unsuspecting users and that's precisely why online casino PayPal payment option is the safest choice to make. PayPal being one of the world's most popular and also one of the most reliable online payments system, your financial info remains safe with them and you don't ever have to risk giving away your valuable financial information on a scam site or phishing page. The best part is that almost everyone accepts PayPal these days!


Do Your Research


If you are going to play at an unknown internet casino or shop at an ecommerce site that you know little of, use Google. See what other people are saying about the site and go through user experiences to get an idea of what to expect. Some sites even have a trust score for users to check.


Check the Link/URL


The best and often the only way to avoid an active phishing attack is to check the URL in your browser or mail. For example, does it say http://amazon.com or does it say http://amazon.us/gb5hgy/login-id? Most authentic websites do not use a string of random alphabets at the end like that and Amazon USA is just called Amazon.com, so there's no amazon.us domain. Beware of little details like that at all times.


The rule of thumb is, if something looks out of place, then that's because it is! Don't take chances with your finances online and be safe by following the few simple precautions mentioned here.


Risks To Your Safety

 

There are multiple instances when we process sensitive data on our smartphones. First, our smart devices have a multitude of sensors (cameras, microphones, GPS, NFC) that can record and transmit sensitive data.  Second, the synchronization occurring between different devices and between devices and clouds (including credit card information or passwords for various websites) transform smartphones into vulnerable gateways to our individual digital mini-worlds.


smartphone-safety

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The problem gets even more serious when financial information is involved, like when playing in an online casino from your smartphone. Normally, the best online casinos have safe payment procedures, but this does not guarantee that your device is not hacked and either financial data or login credentials are stolen or that your traffic is intercepted. Obviously, this applies many other situations, like when donating to a crowdfunding platform, shopping on eBay, managing your online banking account, etc.


smartphone-safety-1

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Antivirus Software

 

The first answer to this spectrum of risks is a good antivirus software. While many manufacturers do integrate many antivirus functions in their hardware, firmware, or as standalone apps, their quality or functionality might often be inadequate or insufficient, suggesting that a better option is to install a top antivirus from the respective app market.


An antivirus would constantly be on alert for detecting:


       viruses,

       Trojans,

       worms,

       malicious websites,

       phishing attempts and spam in your email account.


Despite implementing many heuristic approaches, an antivirus is still vulnerable to potential new threats which are not described in its constantly actualized database. Consequently, new types of ingenious viruses can bypass all these defenses and enter your system to do damage. Thus, besides antiviruses, there is also need of a preventive solution.

 

VPNs For Online Privacy and Safe Browsing

 

A VPN encrypts all your traffic and routes it through dedicated servers whose IP address you take as an online user. The main results are online anonymity but also the fact that third parties (like hackers or the ISP) cannot access your web traffic, even on public WiFi networks. Thus, it is a very good idea to install a free or paid VPN app from the store and activate it in case you need to make a payment on a network that you do not completely trust.


Keep in mind however, than not all sites would allow you to use VPNs, since many would need to ensure that you are accessing them from a valid IP address from a given country or region. Thus, there were occasional reports of  account bans enforced by PayPal when users tried to access them through VPNs. But such situations are relatively rare.


Conclusion


In order to achieve a comprehensive protection for your device, it is most wise to combine the power of both these entirely distinct but complementary and compatible solutions - antiviruses and VPNs.  An antivirus is essential for comprehensive safety, while a VPN is important both for safety and online privacy (which is another form of safety).



After a few weeks of investigations, confusion and more than ninety exploding Note 7s, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has now officially instructed Galaxy Note 7 owners in the US to stop using the smartphone immediately and return it to Samsung as soon as possible. Although the company did recall the Note 7 smartphones worldwide much earlier, there was quite a bit of confusion regarding what the situation was exactly and how to proceed with the replacement or refund. In order to make things easier, here's what the official statement from CPSC declared earlier.


"Consumers should immediately stop using and power down the recalled Galaxy Note 7 devices purchased before September 15th, 2016,"


"Contact the wireless carrier, retail outlet, or Samsung.com where you purchased your device to receive free of charge a new Galaxy Note 7 with a different battery, a refund, or a new replacement device."


If you opt to exchange your Note 7 for a brand new and safe one, the new box should have an "S" in blue, printed over the bar code to denote that it's safe. We have information from Recode that in spite of the multiple warnings, only about 130,000 customers have returned their devices so far in the US. Hopefully this formal CPSC statement will encourage more customers to opt for the replacement/refund.


Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)


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