Wednesday 11 June, 2014

8 Common but Idiotic Security Mistakes that Compromise Your Computer

Almost nobody takes all the security precautions they need to. This leaves your system and data open to attack, and it’s especially dangerous for businesses. Hackers are always finding ways to get into your computer system, so make it a little bit tricky for them at least and maybe they’ll find somebody else to pick on. Here are 8 of the most common mistakes.

Responding to Random Emails

Don’t open funny emails, reply to them, or click links in them. Lots of scammers send emails that say things like ‘check this out’ and as soon as you do, they’ve gotten into your email account. What’s especially tricky is that these can be messages from friends. Be on the lookout for messages that are uncharacteristic of your friends and if you’re not sure, email them (don’t reply) to ask if they sent you a link.

Easy to Crack Passwords

Whatever you do, don’t use a weak password. Of course, you probably know not to use passwords like ‘password’ or ‘12345,’ but even less obvious things like a song title or birthdate of a child can be easy to hack. Don’t use the same password two places and change your passwords often.

Giving out Personal Info

You should avoid giving out any kind of personal information online, even to your bank or an online merchant. Give it some thought before you do. Sometimes, you’ve got no choice, but whenever you have other options (such as giving information by phone), use those instead.

Failing to Renew or Upgrade

Your computer’s security program sometimes offers you upgrades. These annoying messages pop up and you can click where it says ‘tell me later’ and forget about them. But each day you put it off, you’re leaving your computer open to attack. These updates come out because over time, hackers learn to exploit the program’s weaknesses. The update has that weakness patched up.

No Firewall Software

A security program alone isn’t usually enough. Aside from anti-virus software, you also need firewall software program. If something nasty gets past your security software, a firewall keeps it from wreaking havoc. The bit of malware can’t connect to the Internet. In many cases, a firewall is part of your security software program but not always.

Bad Facebook Apps

Spammers are now figuring out how to attack users on Facebook, the world’s favorite social media website. There are lots of bad apps that, once you download them, start spamming your friends from your account. Be careful before downloading any apps from Facebook.

Weird Downloads

You should only download something from its official website. Whenever you’re tempted to download free software, surf around and read some reviews first. Lots of free software is actually malware in disguise. Make sure it’s what it says it is. Also, watch out for movies and other media downloads that are impossibly small; these are often viruses.

Watch Your Wi-Fi Use

Be very careful about what you do over Wi-Fi. Lots of places offer a free Wi-Fi connection, but this leaves you open to attack. Sometimes, a free Wi-Fi connection is actually a hacker’s. All they have to do is set up a computer and go fishing for data from your computer. It’s best not to enter any passwords when surfing Wi-Fi.

The simplest tip is to avoid the ‘it can’t happen to me’ attitude. Hackers are out there looking for your data, so take these precautions to make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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