1. Relying Exclusively on Antivirus Protection
Nearly one million malware threats are released online every day. It is practically impossible for an antivirus company to protect you from each and every one of them.
Malware developers have become very clever these days. They test out their program code against all antivirus products before releasing it into cyberspace. They make the code so confusing that even Antivirus protection products cannot understand what exactly it is doing.
It isn’t just about virus infection – these one million threats consist of different varieties of malware with different ways of infecting your computer and causing damage.
You need a security solution that can deal with unknown threats too. Anti-malware programs use advanced detection techniques to prevent such attacks.
Solution: Complement antivirus with a proven Anti-malware solution like MalwareFox.
2. Trusting Open Wi-Fi
You might prefer a certain coffee shop or an outing place just because they offer free high-speed Wi-Fi. However, this free stuff can become a costly affair.
Open Wi-Fi networks shouldn’t be trusted at all considering the high risk of cookie theft or session hijacking. In these scenarios, hackers can gain access to an active session of one of your online accounts without needing a password.
Even if Wi-Fi is encrypted, that doesn’t mean it is safe. Criminals may create a hotspot and name it something like “Cake Shop Wifi” or “Hotel Guest 5.” If you make connection on such a network, you are almost certainly going to get your personal details stolen.
It is recommended that banking transactions or online shopping should be avoided at all cost in public places.
Solution: Use VPN while connected to a public network. It can provide an encrypted connection with the network and acts as a layer between the accessed website and the Wi-Fi network.
3. Choosing A Simple Password
You might be hearing this advice for the zillionth time but people still do it. PewResearch reports that about 41% of U.S. adults surveyed prefer keeping simple and easy to guess passwords for their online accounts.
The obvious reason behind such behavior is that complex passwords are difficult to remember. If it’s easy for you to remember, it is also easier for criminals to run a brute force attack and capture your password.
Another common sin committed is to use the same password for all of your online accounts. The danger is that if one of the accounts becomes compromised (maybe because of negligence on service provider’s part), you are risking the security of all your other accounts, too.
Solution: Use Password Manager, which can generate and store your password securely.
4. Clicking Links in Emails
Most phishing attacks are carried out by scammers sending links in email. Hackers gain the attention of users by using genuine subject lines in emails and then send users to fake websites after they open and click.
These websites may ask for password verification or inject malware on a user’s computer. So links found in spam email messages and unknown senders should be avoided.
Sometimes fake links are hidden behind genuine looking emails. Such messages can reach your inbox from a trusted sender too if their account is compromised. It is a better practice not to open any links directly from the mailbox.
Solution: Copy and paste links to access manually (preferably in a different browser).
5. Letting The Internet Know That You’ll Be Out Of Town
Just to make friends jealous about your travel plans, we post notes on Facebook about them in advance. But this is a threat to your privacy if these posts are publicly visible.
Do you know a woman lost $825 in prize money because she posted the winning ticket with its barcode online? Never dare post a photo of a boarding pass or travel tickets online. This can lead to identity theft and financial loss in many cases.
Solution: Keep your social media updates restricted to friends only.
6. Blindly Accepting Software Installations
While installing any new software on your computer, it is a general habit to keep clicking buttons like Next, OK, Proceed, or Continue. We are so used to it that we can install any software on a computer system blindfolded.
Criminals take advantage of this behavior and hide unwanted things behind the license agreement and installation checkboxes. This is how PUP Malware is injected into a user’s computer and they are often oblivious about it.
It results in the installation of unwanted programs on your computer, which clutter and slow down your computer’s performance.
Advertisements, pop-up messages or unknown programs you don’t remember installing are the result of this kind of ignorance.
Solution: Untick checkboxes and avoid “Express/Default” install mode. Preferably, you should download free software products from official websites or trusted repositories only.
7. Keeping Default Settings in Social Accounts
Social networks have become the largest platform to collect a fair amount of information about anyone. It is up to you how much information should be made available publicly.
By default, privacy settings aren’t very strict. For example, Facebook allows you to restrict your updates to friends (direct connection), friends of friends (third party connection) or the general public.
You should dig into the settings of your account and make sure they are restricted only to friends. Also, do not allow public users the ability to write on your wall and stop showing employment and location details to everyone.
By avoiding giving out personal information to the public, you can protect yourself from getting impersonated online.
Solution: Immediately restrict your reach on social media accounts to trusted friends and connections only.
Remember, it may not save money to be secure and safe online now, but it is worth protecting yourself from the high cost that could ultimately hurt you personally or financially later.