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Hardfacts on Software – Secure online shopping

I guess some of you missed my blog last week. At least I hope so! Well, it had to do with me downloading a firmware update and that update ending up messing up my hard drive, so that the only option was to wipe it and reload the OS. I must say, I am impressed with Mac that after more than four years using this laptop, that there is still no issue with its hardware. Yes I did replace the battery once, but everything else is running as on day one.
That is until I had to have the hard drive wiped. I have lost most data you will assume. Well – actually not. I got home with the clean hard drive and connected my machine to my Time Capsule, and voila, a couple of hours later my 210 GB of content were back safely on my laptop. What a wonderful machine this Time Machine is. On top of that, I keep all my critical files in Dropbox in the cloud, so even when my Time Capsule and my laptop get stolen at the same time, I will be able to recover my photos etc from the cloud. What a relief.
Anyway, just thought I’d share that story with you and now you know why I was offline last week. For the next few weeks I want to focus on security when shopping online. Remember we talked about online shopping towards the end of last year and how this trend keeps growing, but we in southern Africa are still very wary of buying on the web. One reason is that it takes up to five! Years for most people to get comfortable shopping online. Part of that is that many are ill informed about security when shopping online. Well therefore I take it upon me to help inform you. Herewith thus a couple of articles I found on the web that explain the dos and don’ts when shopping online. I found this on http://www.privacyrights.org and they deserve all the credit for it.
“With just a click of the mouse, shoppers can buy nearly any product online — from groceries to cars, from insurance policies to home loans. The world of electronic commerce, also known as e-commerce, enables consumers to shop at thousands of online stores and pay for their purchases without leaving the comfort of home. For many, the Internet has taken the place of Saturday afternoon window-shopping at the mall. Consumers expect merchants to not only make their products available on the Web, but to make payments a simple and secure process. However, the same things can go wrong shopping in cyberspace as in the real world. Sometimes it is simply a case of a computer glitch or poor customer service. Other times, shoppers are cheated by clever scam artists.
A February 2008 survey by Pew Internet found that 66% of Americans surveyed have purchased a product online because it is convenient and saves time. While the survey reported that over half those surveyed experienced frustration, confusion, or being overwhelmed with information, the greatest concern for online shoppers, 75%, was in sending credit card and personal information over the Internet.
Just as shoppers should take measures to protect themselves in brick-and-mortar stores — such as protecting their PIN numbers when checking out and not leaving purses unattended — online shoppers also need to take sensible precautions. This guide offers advice on how to make your online shopping experiences enjoyable and safe.”
So that was just the introduction. I will be sharing more of the wisdom next week. You see, since we opened our new division at www.vaimo.com, where we offer e-commerce solutions, my eyes opened towards the huge opportunities in this space. Online shopping today is not just about having an online shop – it’s now that if you don’t have one you might as well close your shop’s doors. So it’s important that we keep this discussion active.
Until next time then – Keep it (A)fresh.

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