Are You Guilty of these Online Security Mistakes?

Online security isn’t something that should be taken for granted. Every day, thousands of cyberattacks leave people’s data vulnerable and cause serious issues for many businesses. And the worst thing about cyberattacks is that the majority of them are caused by human error.

Many of us behave recklessly online without even realising we’re doing it. Could you be guilty of some of the most common online security mistakes? Read on and find out.

You never change your passwords

Maintaining secure passwords is one of the most basic internet security tips. Gone are the days when you could use ‘password’ or ‘1234’ for everything. Cyberattackers can easily see through the simplest of passwords, so the more complex you can make yours, the better. Some tips for setting secure passwords include:

  • Create passwords that are at least 12 characters long – 16 is ideal. Remember, the LONGER the password, the STRONGER the password.
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols to make your passwords more complex. Password managers are fantastic for generating random password combinations on your behalf.
  • Never use the same password for two accounts. Keep things unique. 
  • Don’t write your passwords down. Make the most of your browser’s password storage capacity to take care of the hard work for you.

You don’t check your network connections

If you’re always connecting to different networks on the move, then you could be putting your data at risk. Unsecured connections pose a significant risk, so it’s important to only use secure networks where possible. Learn how to check network connection safely to minimise your risk when you’re browsing elsewhere.

You’re not as savvy to phishing emails as you should be

Phishing emails are getting more and more difficult to spot. Scammers are even translating their text into different languages to try and trick you! This is why it’s always important to keep your wits about you when browsing online. Always cast a critical eye over emails that seem too good to be true, they probably are! Familiarise yourself with how to spot scam emails to help you feel more confident identifying scams.

This video is full of useful tips:

@rossbrouse How To Spot a Phishing Email #phishing #phishingemail #cybersecurity #cybersecurityawareness #emailscam #emailtips #techtoktips ♬ Blue Blood – Heinz Kiessling

And if you’re in doubt, ask a friend or colleague to read through something for you. But whatever you do, don’t email it to them! 

You don’t backup your files frequently

Backing up your files is incredibly important. How would you cope if you lost everything? The good news is that backing up your files is much easier thanks to cloud storage, so where possible, make sure you’ve got automatic backups in place. You can also take a belt and braces approach by ensuring you have a hard copy of your files kept somewhere too. Backups will protect you in case of ransomware or system failures, so you’ll be glad you backed up if it ever happens to you.

You forget to update your software

Think you can skip that next software update? You might think again after reading this! Software updates are incredibly important when it comes to online security. Most updates are designed to put additional protection in place in response to the latest threats. This gives your computer and other devices the best defence against would-be attackers. Not only that, but software updates can help your applications run much smoother, helping to beat bugs and errors that would otherwise slow you down.

If you manage a website, security updates apply here too. Failing to update your software could leave your website and any users’ data exposed, leading to some serious consequences if this data is ever breached.

Your mobile devices are left unlocked

How secure are your mobile devices? You might make sure your laptop is protected from threats, but what about the ones that you carry around with you? Security measures are essential for your phone or tablet, starting with a pin that isn’t easy to guess. Be careful with your devices when you’re out and about as they are a tempting target for thieves, who could easily get access to your personal data if your device is unlocked. 

There are many things to consider when it comes to protecting yourself online. And while there may be some things you take for granted, it’s good to take an active role in maintaining your online security. Be cautious online and always protect your data – it could save you a lot of problems both now and in the future.


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