Most people assume that they are safe when they are browsing the web, shopping online, or checking their emails. However, the truth is that you might be closer to online risks that you might realize. Most of us rely on antivirus software and firewalls to keep us safe online, but while these are good lines of defense against hackers and cybercriminals, they can’t always protect us. Are you making any of these common mistakes that could be putting your online security at risk?
It’s easy to come up with one strong password that you can remember and then use it for all of your online accounts. However, while this might be convenient for you, it’s also really convenient for cybercriminals. All it takes is for one of your accounts to be breached, and the hackers can access almost anything else that you do online, getting access to your personal information and perhaps even your finances. If you are reusing a password that is easy to guess, such as the name of your child or pet followed by your date or birth, then you are putting yourself at an even higher risk.
Not Verifying Email Senders:
Do you respond to every email asking you for information without checking that the person who it appears to have been sent from, actually sent it? Most of the time, we assume that what goes on in our email inboxes is genuine. If you get an email from your boss, your bank, or even your husband, you probably wouldn’t have much reason to doubt that they sent it. And that’s exactly how phishing attacks occur. Once you’ve replied to the email with the requested information or clicked on the link, you’ve been attacked. Use Nuwber to verify senders by simply searching for the email address on the site to make sure that it belongs to who you think it does. Or, get in touch with the sender to quickly check.
Accessing Public Wi-Fi:
Public Wi-Fi networks can sometimes be very useful. Whether you’re waiting for your gate to open at the airport and want to catch up with social media or are getting some work done from your local coffee shop, free and publicly available Wi-Fi networks make it all possible. However, the problem with public Wi-Fi is that it is not secured. As a result, it is much easier for hackers to gain access to your device through the network and access personal data about you, your place of work, or school. If you use public Wi-Fi networks on a regular basis, the best way to protect yourself is by using a VPN to encrypt your connection.
Failing to Update Software:
Software updates can be an inconvenient process, especially if they appear right when you are in the middle of getting work done. It’s all too easy to press ‘Remind me later’ over and over again, until weeks or months have passed and you still haven’t updated your operating system or your antivirus software. You might think nothing of it, but the truth is that many software updates aren’t just there for new features – they are also important for security, and are sometimes designed as a response to hackers being able to access the previous version. If you’re leaving your software updated, you could be leaving yourself wide open to an attack.