Technology has changed how we live our everyday life. It has made everything easier, making it hard not to rely on it. However, with the safety issues involved, you might be afraid of fully spreading your wings when using the internet. The use of technology leaves you vulnerable to the whim of cybercriminals. Online privacy mistakes can cost you a lot, whether big or small. Realistically, internet users unknowingly make these mistakes more often than not. Some people reveal sensitive information online, allow access to their accounts, or even expose themselves to cyber attacks.
Knowing the mistakes that could leave you vulnerable online is essential, so you know where to surf carefully. Here are common end-user mistakes you should avoid.
We all have left a trail of breadcrumbs about our personal life online, both knowingly and inadvertently. While Nuwber is a safe site to gather those breadcrumbs for online identity verification, not all platforms are straightforward. Social media platforms are home to notorious online data harvesters. These hackers know how to gather personal information from different sources to create one identity.
Cybercriminals and hackers out to phish for sensitive data will use your digital footprint and might steal your identity. Sharing fewer details online and keeping private information such as address and phone number private is advisable.
If you’re using old apps, you’re making it easier for hackers to do what they are already good at. Obsolete software on your devices makes them vulnerable to external attacks. Software updates take a few minutes, if not seconds. For most apps, you’ll get clickable notifications requesting updates, while some updates are automatically installed.
Using an old version of an app seems comfortable but is not safe. New versions fix bugs and security loopholes in outdated versions. Next time, do not ignore the updates alert.
Some apps could be spreading malware on your device. ‘How?’ you may ask. You clicked “yes” to the terms and conditions and allowed them access without even reading. Some apps could be asking for malicious permissions to function. For example, a calculator app asking for permission to access your camera and microphone should raise concerns.
Control what permissions to grant to certain apps, and if the requests are questionable, get rid of the app altogether.
Everyone dreads the “12-character long, unpredictable, unique, with symbols, lower and upper case letters” password-creating instructions that should be followed when creating an account or changing passwords. Think of a password as a key and lock to your account: the stronger it is, the harder it will be for an outsider to access it. Weak passwords are effortless for scammers to breach.
Most internet users find it hard to remember passwords for each online account. Writing down the passwords is the most obvious solution to help you remember your passcode. While it might be done with good intentions, it’s a serious safety risk because anyone who gets this detail has your assets.
The next mistake is to use a strong password across different accounts. There are less serious consequences when used in social media accounts, but continued use on online banking, investment accounts, and e-commerce sites creates more damaging consequences. Hackers know this to be the easiest trick in the book, making it easier to gain your login info from a less secure site to access your sensitive information.
With everything shifting online, shopping is not left behind either. Online shopping provides a very convenient and fast way to find and buy something from the comfort of your home. Sellers use your browsing history to understand what to recommend through ads that pop up on your screen. Online criminals have found this as an effective method to swindle you out of some cash.
Avoid all ads that direct you to shady websites. The payment details you paste for products on these sites can be compromised. Subsequently, always shop for products from a reliable seller instead of clicking on random ads.
The Wi-Fi at the café shop down the street can come in handy, especially when you desperately need internet access but have no other means. It is an excellent way for businesses to attract customers.
You can do everything else right, but you’re doomed if you still depend on public hotspots for your internet. Most of these networks are unsecured and leave an open door for others to access your device and retrieve data. When someone else accesses your device, there is no way to protect your sensitive information. When using public networks, use a VPN tool and only log in to encrypted websites.
It is easier to click on “remember password” for accounts that you frequent daily. It saves you the agony of remembering the password whenever you want to sign in. Others opt to stay signed in to avoid the login prompt whenever they want to access their account. This convenience is not just for you. Hackers smile their way into such accounts and access all the sensitive data. They also can change passwords and make transactions on your behalf.
Almost all laptops, desktops, tablets, and mobile devices have webcams. They are very useful when using Skype, during Zoom meetings, face timing, and live recording videos. When left on, they could be an intrusion into your privacy.
Hackers access webcams that are left on to spy on your every move in front of the camera. All they need to do is get you to click on a random spam link or attachment. If this is not the definition of privacy intrusion, what is?
You can cover your webcam using tape after you are done using it. If someone has already accessed it, disable the whole thing.
It is easy for hackers to gain access to your accounts by adding viruses to their links, attachments, and downloads. They then send them to you in emails or post them as clickable links online. They are easy to detect to an alert eye; they look sketchy or uncalled for. Websites with low traffic are also a course for concern, even if they look legitimate at first glance.
Always check the validity of an email sender before clicking on the attachments.
While all these online mistakes can be a handful, there are many solutions to keep you digitally safe. If you know how to protect yourself, you will feel safe using the internet. A strong password is no longer enough to keep you safe from cyberattacks. Use cybersecurity products to detect malware, and in case of an attack, get a password recovery option.