Is Your Payment Data Secure? Here’s How to Know
As so much of our lives are conducted digitally, it’s no wonder more and more people are shopping (and paying their bills) online. Paying for things online is convenient and safe…or is it? Since more activities have moved online, there’s more opportunities for criminals to commit crimes online, too. Here are a few things to look for to make sure your payment data is protected online.
The site uses strong encryption
How do you know if the website you’re using is encrypted? Check the URL for an “s” after the HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). When data is being transferred online, the HTTP should switch to an HTTPS (the “s” stands for secure). This means the website is using encryption services.
What does encryption mean? Encrypted data appears as jumbled up text that is not easy for a human to understand. In very simple terms, encryption means taking readable text and changing it up so that it appears random. This makes it harder for your data to be understood by someone. Encryption is assisted by certain protocols like SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security), which provide authentication and data encryption between servers, applications, and machines over a network.
If the encryption is strong then you should see a closed lock or unbroken key icon next to the website address in your browser. An open lock or broken key icon on the other hand could indicate an issue with the site’s security or your connection to the site. In those cases, you should exercise caution before completing a transaction.
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