The Seven Most Common Internet Security Mistakes
A reader says: 'I have anti-virus protection but somehow I got a virus anyway. How did this happen?' That's hard to say without knowing more, but chances are, this person made one of the seven Internet security mistakes on my list. Any one of them can lead to malware infection or even identity theft. Are YOU vulnerable? See the list now...
Are You Making Any of These Computer Security Blunders?
You may think that your Internet connection is secure because you have anti-virus software installed. But unfortunately, online security is not a set-and-forget thing; you need to be vigilant constantly and keep your protections up to date with the latest threats. Here are some of the most common Internet security mistakes that people make.
MISTAKE #1: Weak passwords leave your computer, router, and online accounts vulnerable to “dictionary attacks,” automated password-retry programs that run through lists of well-known common passwords until one works. Sure, a short, obvious password is easy to remember, but it doesn’t protect you well at all. Amazingly, one the most commonly used password is “password;” hackers probably get a kick out of that!
A strong password should be at least 12 characters long; as random as possible; and a mixture of alphabetic, numeric, and upper/lower case letters. Change your passwords every few months, and never use one that is part of your public identity, i. e., your name, birth date, home street, etc. Here are some additional tips on choosing a strong password:
MISTAKE #2: Clicking on links in emails to access online accounts is convenient but dangerous. A phony "`ing" email that looks like it’s from your bank may contain a link to a site that looks like your online banking login page. When you enter your username and password, you’re really handing them over to hackers. Instead of clicking on email links, open the desired destination in your Web browser and log in the “hard” way. It’s a small extra step that can save you from identity theft. Read these related articles to learn more about phishing:
MISTAKE #3: Failing to keep software up to date is another common mistake. Most of the Windows updates issued by Microsoft are security patches that address real, urgent issues. They are not called “critical updates” for nothing. Application programs should also be kept up to date. Check for updates to your router’s firmware at least twice a year. Many programs come with automatic update utilities; it’s a good idea to leave them enabled so that you at least get notifications when updates are available. Here's some additional information about keeping all your software up to snuff:
MISTAKE #4: Downloading free software from an unknown source, especially one that “comes to you” via email or a pop-up ad, is often perilous. Unsolicited freebies may actually be malware in disguise. You don’t really need a “free virus scan” if you already have antivirus software; just run a program that you can trust. See the link below for tips on identifying rogue software and malicious links.
MISTAKE #5: Not using two-factor authentication. Yes, it sounds geeky, but using this technique can protect your online accounts even if someone steals or guesses your password! It takes just a minute of effort to add this extra layer of security to your logins. Follow this link to learn how to implement two-factor authentication:
MISTAKE #6: Leaving your wifi wide open. Most high-speed Internet providers supply you with a router that enables wifi connections in your home. But if it's not set up correctly, wireless Internet can leave you open to hackers and unauthorized moochers of your Internet service. And that could lead to identity theft, or even legal trouble for you. Check out my tips on locking down your wifi.
MISTAKE #7: Putting out too much personal information on social networks, blogs, and other online forums is all too common. It’s often easy for someone to track down the home address and schedule of those who “over share.” Avoid posting your email address, phone number, home address, vacation plans, and other personal info on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Also, never share your social security number casually or in a public forum. Failure in this area could lead burglars to your door, or give identity thieves an opening to exploit.
But Wait... There's More!
Paying attention to these common online security mistakes will go a long way toward protecting you online. But these are just SOME of the things you need to do. In my ebook Everything You Need to Know About INTERNET SECURITY and PRIVACY, I lay out all the online threats you should know about, in a way that's easy to understand. In each of the 60+ chapters, you'll find practical ideas to boost your security and protect your privacy -- with a focus on FREE do-it-yourself solutions. Check it out with the link above.
What are some other Internet security mistakes people should avoid? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 10 Jan 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- The Seven Most Common Internet Security Mistakes (Posted: 10 Jan 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved