Q&A: Suspect online store

Q Whenever I was redirected to PayPal for payment, the https URL and padlock symbol appeared in Safari, but now do not. Am I being hijacked, or should I follow the advice to ‘remove all website data’ in Safari’s Privacy settings to fix it?

A You are wise to be alert to hijacks, in which you are taken to a malicious site which captures your PayPal account details.

However it is more likely that the online store is storing your payment information in a cookie; if you follow the advice to open its Preferences dialog, select the Privacy tool, and click the top button to remove all cookies and other website data, you will reset that. However you will also remove every other cookie, which could make accessing other sites very tedious indeed when you next visit them.

If you are concerned to change this behaviour, a more selective method is to click on the Details… button, which drops down a list of all the cookies being stored. You can then locate just those for the stores in question and, making sure that you know your customer access information for those sites, you can select those cookies for removal.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 30 issue 3, 2014.