The Importance of a Secure Shopping Cart


As online shopping becomes increasingly popular, so do online scams and identity theft. In order to ensure a safe and secure shopping experience online, it is important to use Web sites that have secure shopping carts. This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to increase security while shopping online.

What is a secure shopping cart?

Firstly, what is a shopping cart? This may seem simple, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Not only does a shopping cart contain all the merchandise that the visitor wants to purchase, but it also follows the patron all the way to checkout. Therefore, an insecure shopping cart can put personal information, including one's own identity, into the hands of someone who may cause harm. The fortunate news is that online shopping can actually be an extremely secure place to do business, but only if certain precautions are taken to ensure online safety.

A secure sockets layer (SSL) is essential to any type of secure shopping cart. This is what gives a Web site a URL beginning with https instead of the normal http. When shopping, always look for the https at the beginning of the URL. Some browsers will even do something special to point out that a Web site is secure.

SSL is a secure method of transmitting information, because it is a process of encryption and decryption that keeps sensitive information safe from outsiders. SSL operates by performing what has been termed a "handshake." This handshake requires the client and the server to form what is essentially their own language for the purpose of their client-server relationship. The use of encryption ensures that no one but the intended recipient is able to receive the relayed information. Once this handshake occurs, the client and the server are free to communicate with each other safely. This should all occur prior to any shopping. Of course, this will happen without any effort on the part of the shopper, but the shopper can know that the session is secure by looking for the telltale signs of a secure connection, particularly the https at the beginning of the URL.

For the seller

From the aspect of the consumer, maintaining a secure shopping experience is a must. From the perspective of the seller, a secure shopping cart is no less important. A secure Web site is more likely to make sales than an insecure one, so securing the connection is a worthy investment. There are a few different ways for the seller to maintain a secure Web site. Perhaps the easiest way is to simply utilize the ecommerce tools available from the Web host. Several hosts now have an ecommerce service that allows site owners to sell products without the requirement of maintaining their own security. The alternative method is to use security tools from a third party.

The most important thing to remember is that secure shopping makes ecommerce better for both the buyer and the seller. For the buyer, a secure shopping cart provides peace of mind and confidence in the seller. For the seller, a secure online store is likely to reap financial benefits and popularity. Secure is really the only way to go.

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