The bad security habits you need to give up immediately

The security landscape is constantly changing and evolving – with cybercriminals developing new methods and tactics. Cyber security companies do a great job in helping to protect us against these risks – however, too many of us still have some bad security habits that make it too easy for cyber criminals to attack.

STOP: Using Public Wi-Fi Without a VPN

As more and more of our digital lives are carried out on mobile devices, tablets and laptops, using public Wi-Fi hotspots has become more common. Whether you’re working remotely from a café, browsing the internet at an airport lounge, want to boost your internet signal when out and about or simply to avoid using your data allowance – there are many reasons why you would connect to public Wi-Fi.

However, while convenient, these Wi-Fi hot spots are not safe and carry many dangers – putting your data at risk.

If you have to use public Wi-Fi, when home or abroad, make sure you use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). When you use a VPN your internet traffic is encrypted – meaning no one can intercept it and you can browse the internet safely on public Wi-Fi networks.

STOP: Using Easy to Guess Passwords 

Qwerty, password, 12345, qwerty123. These are some of the most popular passwords today in use today – and if they look familiar to you, then you should change your password immediately.

More often than not, passwords act as they gateway to so much sensitive information. Online banking, emails, work systems, social media – imagine everything a hacker could do with this information. Still, too many people use easily guessable passwords.

With cybercrime on the rise, having strong, secure passwords is crucial to keeping your online identity and accounts safe. To make it as difficult as possible for hackers to easily get into your accounts, you need to make your password as complex as possible using a variety of uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and special characters. It is also important to avoid common words like names and places, as these could be found more easily by a malicious actor from your social media, for example. Check out this infographic to help create a new strong password.

STOP: Using the Same Password for Everything

Even if you have a very secure password, nothing is 100% safe from hacking. With this in mind it is vital that you do not have the same password for all of your accounts.

Remembering different complex passwords for each of your accounts is a tall order – so use a password manager to keep these secure.

Password managers store, generate and update unique passwords for you with just the press of a button. The joy of a good manager is that you, in essence, only need to remember one set of credentials – the ones you use to log into the password manager. Examples of password managers include, DashlaneKeeper and BitWarden.

STOP: Avoiding Security Updates

We’ve all been there – we’re in the middle of something and we get a pop up on our phone asking us to install a software update. How many times have you hit the ‘remind me later’ button? Most of us have been in that position – whether you’re waiting until you have more battery power, or are back at home, there’s always a reason to keep hitting the ‘remind me later button’.

However, while these pop ups can be annoying it’s vital to not to keep avoiding them. These updates contain security patches – fixing vulnerabilities on your software and applications that are susceptible to cyber-attacks. Installing these updates as soon as possible is therefore vital to close down opportunities for criminals to exploit your data.

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April 2022