You may have heard a lot of hysteria surrounding ‘catastrophic lapses’ in online security and the term Heartbleed bandied around recently. The bug had allowed attackers to steal data from computers using vulnerable versions of widely used security programmes. It was exactly what many online security experts and even more SMEs had feared could happen.
Newspapers such as The Daily Mail ran scare stories urging all users to change their passwords in an attempt to restore some vestige of security to their online accounts. A flaw in some open SSL services meant that hackers were able to simulate conditions where they could receive normally encrypted data from many computers. This meant they could harvest passwords, security information and even purchase information, leaving users and companies exposed to fraud and crime.
Unfortunately, many still don’t think that changing their password is crucial.
The threat, thankfully, did not end up materialising into the catastrophe that many predicted but the damage was nonetheless done, and consumer confidence in online security was damaged. The incident stressed the need for up-to-date and effective online security measures. SSL certs and the verification process are still vital tools in the fight against online fraud. When making online purchases and sending secure information, you should still also only use companies with an SSL system and verification process, highlighted by the padlock and change from http to https.
Companies wanting to profit from the 60% plus of people in the UK who now shop online should take the threat of online fraud and security very seriously and ensure that they are using secure servers and the latest technology to keep customer information safe.
Online security is an ever-changing process that involves staying one step ahead of those who may wish to benefit from lapses and insufficient protection. With adequate protection, there is no real reason why online shopping or browsing should be any more potentially dangerous than going to the shops. Despite incidents like Heartbleed, we should continue to put our trust in online security measures.
Online transactions are set to be representing around one in four of all purchases by 2016, so it’s a huge market to explore. We shouldn’t let doubts about security get in the way and with the right security measures, they don’t have to.