Credit card information

Spyware is one concern of security and privacy. It can install itself when a user clicks on something, and this click can be on almost anything. It often occurs with a click on an advertisement, when downloading or installing a program, or when clicking “I agree” or “agree to terms” on anything that may require this for use. It can record keystrokes, collect passwords, bank and credit card information, or chat and email, or it may simply collect web browsing habits.

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Information is gathered and transmitted back to the initiator and distributed or sold to anyone with an interest, often with no concern for the third party’s intent. An anti-spyware program can usually detect these programs, and free downloads are usually easy to find and are often bundled with antivirus software. Running scans on your computer regularly are the best way to keep them out. When is the last time you read a user agreement for anything? Personally, I’m not sure I’ve ever read one.

I expect the same old “not for commercial use,” and “copyrighted material” rules, but in many cases, there is a lot more involved. Often reading a user agreement or privacy policy provided on a website will help you to understand what and how information is being collected about you and how it is being used. Reading privacy policies will help determine the costs that may be associated with making a purchase or even creating an account with what may be a business that freely distributes your personal information. Some concerning examples I found, such as at www. priorityco.

com, states: “Priority Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is your reputable full service distributor of pharmaceutical products, based out of San Diego, California. ” I searched unsuccessfully for a privacy policy, but found a clickable link at the bottom of the page, “Site Design by Glimpse Interactive,” At their website I found: “We offer Search Engine Optimization, Pay-Per-Click Advertising Campaigns, Technology Coaching, Email Marketing Campaigns, Site Statistics Software, Digital Video Services and Content Management Systems to ensure that our clients are on the leading edge of online marketing. ”

It is unclear as to what information they are collecting or sharing, but the tracking and profile building of information regarding pharmaceuticals should not be in question. I also found multiple agencies that collect information and sell it such as www. bestpricedlists. com: “With over 14 million businesses and 200 million consumers at our fingertips, we have access to anyone and everyone you are looking to target for a fraction of the cost. ” This concerns me in the respect that personal information belonging to me, my family and friends, neighbors and co-workers is being sold, in bulk, in what seems like a dehumanizing way.

The trouble with these examples is that this information can be purchased by those intending to defraud others, giving them ample information regarding interests and lifestyles of many individuals. This information can easily be used to present fraudulent schemes to those who would likely be interested. Security becomes a concern when spyware retrieves personal information, or when a user provides personal information over an unsecured connection. This can lead to unauthorized access to accounts, identity theft, or unauthorized use of bank accounts or credit cards.

When deciding to make a purchase or enter personal information anywhere online, it is essential that the user verify there is a secure, or encrypted, connection. Information that is passed across the internet can be intercepted and viewed by others if there is not valid security on the webpage. Entering information such as bank or credit card information, social security number, or passwords can put you at risk. Checking for https: instead of http: verifies a secure connection as well as the appearance of a closed lock on your web browser page.

If you question the security of a web page is best not to release information. Calling the business and placing an order over the phone is often an option, and reduces the risks of interception. Payments made for purchases online should be made with a credit card whenever possible; this offers the best consumer protection. It should also be known that a reputable company will never ask for verification of account information via e-mail. If this request is received, information should not be provided.