You may believe that your Internet connection is safe and secure because you have anti-virus software running. This is actually a common misconception for too many people, because online security requires constant vigilance and properly configured software to guard you and your family against the latest threats. Let’s look at some common Internet mistakes people make.
Using Weak Passwords
Weak passwords mean your computer, online accounts, and router are vulnerable to hackers. Hackers use programs that simply run down numbers sequentially or use “dictionary attacks” to guess common passwords. If your password is a common word or series of numbers, it can be easily guessed.
A strong password has a minimum of eight characters and a mixture of numbers and letters. You could replace your “a’s” with “@”, for example. Make it as random as possible and change it every few months.
Clicking on Phony Links
If you receive an email or see a link in social media, don’t automatically click the link. It can take you to a “phishing” site where your personal information can be stolen. Many people receive official-looking emails from banks or other institutions that are actually clever disguises by hackers. Don’t click on a link unless it’s from a trusted person or you recognize the Internet address.
Not Updating Your Software
Hacking is basically an arms race. When you fail to keep your software updated, particularly your anti-virus software, you are losing ground to hackers who exploit vulnerabilities in software. Keep your anti-virus software updated with the latest virus definitions.
Downloading Free Software From an Unknown Source
Many people automatically click on free software downloads they come across while browsing the Internet or in their email. After all, it’s okay because it’s free, right? Wrong. Many such programs are actually malware or spyware in disguise.
Some of these programs come bundled with more legitimate software you actually need. Make sure anything pre-checked in the installation wizard for that program is something you need.
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