Ways People Inadvertently Compromise Their Online Security
It’s no secret that some cybercriminals will stop at nothing to gain access to personal information, financial information, and other highly sensitive data. However, in spite of this ever-present threat, many of us fail to take the necessary precautions. What’s worse, we regularly engage in behaviors that compromise our online security without even meaning to. Fortunately, most of these habits are fairly easy to correct – provided, of course, you’re willing to learn. Why do we need security software?
Failing to Install Dedicated Security Software
These days, operating systems tend to come with a host of security features. When compared to the operating systems we were using as recently as a decade ago, today’s O.S.s are far better equipped to defend computers against various cyber threats. As a result, many people believe that there’s no longer a need for dedicated security software.
While this rationale is somewhat understandable, it’s also extremely misguided. In the absence of dedicated security software, computers and other internet-enabled devices are vulnerable to an ever-increasing number of digital dangers. Dependable security software can keep a wide range of threats at bay, thus protecting your devices and providing you with tremendous peace of mind. So, no matter how confident you are in your operating system’s onboard security features; make a point of equipping your devices with highly-rated security software.
Skipping Software Updates
Although software updates can be a bit cumbersome, it can’t be denied that many of them serve an important purpose. These updates are often created as a response to new and emerging threats; so the longer you put off installing them, the more vulnerable your devices – and your data – are. So, the next time you receive an update notification – be it for your operating system or an individual program – you’d do well to install it posthaste.
Installing updates can be particularly bothersome if you’re in the middle of doing something on your computer – especially if the installation process involves having to reboot. While there’s no denying that this is a minor annoyance; accepting this temporary inconvenience and opting to get it out of the way can do wonders for your online security. After all, any inconvenience caused by promptly installing software updates pales in comparison to the stress of dealing with viruses; malware, and other prominent cyber threats.
Using Weak Passwords
The average person has quite a few passwords to keep track of. Since remembering a smattering of passwords can prove inconvenient; many of us tend to use the same passwords for multiple accounts and/or create short, easily-guessable passwords. However, while this approach may save you some inconvenience, it also stands to severely compromise your online security.
Some cybercriminals specialize in guessing passwords. Needless to say, the simpler a password is, the easier it will be for such individuals to guess. With this in mind, you should make your passwords as nonsensical and difficult to guess as possible. Furthermore, abstain from using the same passwords for multiple accounts. This may be more convenient for you; but it also means that cybercriminals will effectively guess all of your passwords by simply guessing one.
In addition to creating unique passwords for each account, take care to change your passwords on a semi-regular basis. You should also be very mindful of who you share your passwords with; and if you ever sign in to any of your accounts on a device belonging to a friend or family member; make sure any passwords you enter aren’t saved.
Not Being Careful on Public Networks
Although public Wi-Fi networks can be extremely convenient, many of them are hotspots for cybercriminals. Since anyone can access these networks, you’d be wise to exercise caution whenever using public Wi-Fi. This means not signing in to any important accounts or sharing sensitive data on public networks. If you absolutely must do either of these things when using public Wi-Fi; make sure to use a good virtual private network (VPN).
With cybercriminals working around the clock to spread viruses and steal information; it behooves all of us to protect ourselves online. Unfortunately, far too many people routinely place cybersecurity on the backburner and fail to regard it with due seriousness until it’s too late. So, whether you’ve been the victim of cybercrime in the past or have yet to find yourself on the receiving end of an attack, you’d do well to bolster your defenses. In your efforts to keep yourself safe online, take care to avoid the behaviors discussed above.