More than half of all internet shopping traffic originates from a mobile device and 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase with their device over the past six months, according to e-commerce specialists OuterBox. If you are among the almost 80% that purchase via phone or other mobile devices, odds are you’re not always on your home network when you do so. How can you transact safely over WiFi networks that don’t belong to you?
What Is Encryption?
Most websites that transact utilize encryption. This means the data exchange is scrambled, making it hard to intercept. To ensure the site you’re on is safe, look for the padlock icon in the address.
If that’s not visible on your mobile device, make sure the address is an “https” address. That doesn’t mean these sites are impervious to a breach in security, but they do utilize encryption, making them relatively safe.
It’s important to note that even on encrypted sites, documents aren’t usually able to be encrypted. If you’re sending a PDF or a file with sensitive information, be cautious about the network you’re using. If you’re remote and need to transact, experts recommend using your phone’s cellular data connection, which is generally safer than a public WiFi network.
How To Protect Yourself
Common sense precautions can save a lot of potential mishaps.
- If you’re logging on to sensitive sites like bank accounts or sites that contain personal records, make sure you’re comfortable with the network you use.
- Simple things like ensuring the complexity of your passwords or enabling two-factor authentication when available, can greatly reduce the likelihood of your personal information being compromised.
- You can also encrypt your own devices. Encryption is as simple as setting a passcode on your phone or tablet so in the event your device is lost or stolen, no one will be able to access any personal files or information stored on it.
- And, if you are ever in doubt about the security of your connection, err on the side of caution and wait until you are able to obtain a network connection that you feel fully confident about.
Retail m-commerce, the term used to define transactions that take place on smartphones, tablet and laptops, is estimated to be a $338 billion-dollar industry in 2020. The convenience and necessity of this kind of transacting makes it prevalent in the lives of most consumers.
While it’s important to be aware and protective of your connections and personal information, consumers should feel confident that with the right precautions, transacting on a mobile device is relatively safe.