It’s the middle of February which means you’ve probably long forgotten about your New Year’s cyber security resolutions. But they are important, so here’s a refresher of what you should not be doing online!
1. Using the same password (like your dog’s name or favourite sports team) across all your accounts
If there’s one thing you take from this article it should be: create unique, strong passwords for all your accounts. In 2018 we learned that no company is too big to experience a breach so we have to brace ourselves for them. Part of this is choosing a secure password for each of your accounts.
You’ll still want to update your passwords once a month to make sure your account is secure. FixMeTip: make sure your password isn’t “password1” or anything else from our embarrassing list of last year’s worst passwords.
2. Sending passwords or financial data, including credit card information online
Once you have these great passwords don’t share them! Emails, text messages, and online chat aren’t inherently secure forms of communication.
If you have to send this information consider using a virtual private network (VPN). Email platforms often have encryption functions built-in, but for your phone or tablet consider downloading NordVPN to send this info securely and surf the web privately.
3.Having no password protection on your computer, tablet, or phone
Passwords aren’t just for your accounts. There’s no point in having secure passwords on your accounts if your device is unlocked and automatically logs you in.
Even solely out of concern for your hardware, you want to use a password or PIN on these devices. This gives an extra level of protection if they’re ever stolen, and it can have the dual purpose of preventing your grand kids from downloading malicious games.
4. Having more than one antivirus
If you’re preparing for battle you might think the more weapons you bring to the table the better off you are. However, this analogy isn’t accurate when it comes to antivirus because there’s potential for them to actually fight each other and slow down your computer, as well as leave you vulnerable to threats.
This doesn’t apply to FixMeStick because it’s an external device that runs on its own operating system. That’s why FixMeStick should be your go-to second line of defense to give you the added security you’re looking for.
5. Downloading too many browser extensions
Browser extensions help your browser complete extra functions, like block ads with AdBlock or let you know which sites are safe with McAfee Secure Search. If you don’t know what extensions are you can check them out here.
Make sure you take a look in your default browser as many extensions can download without your knowledge in what’s called a drive-by-download. If there are extensions you don’t remember downloading or that you don’t use you should uninstall them.
6. Never updating software
Software updates come out because everyone makes mistakes, even developers. Once they identify these security loopholes they patch them and come out with more secure software. The catch is you need to update to get these improvements.
Yes, the interface will change but at least you know the software is safe. If you’re using Windows 7 or earlier and you don’t want to upgrade just make sure to have an antivirus, like McAfee Total Protection to help protect you. .
7.Clicking on virus warnings or links and attachments in emails
These pop-ups are notorious for flashing scary messages across your screen. Don’t click on them, instead of force quit or end task in your Task Manager.
Your email inbox is at risk for phishing attacks. No matter how tempting the offer, please do not click on links or attachments sent from unknown users! You can hover over the sender’s name to see their full email address and verify if you know them or not.
Take this quiz to see if you can tell the difference between fake warnings and real ones.
8. Using free, public Wi-Fi for sensitive information
If you’re using free, public Wi-Fi chances are the network is unsecured and a prime target for hackers. Don’t make it easy for them to steal your sensitive information, instead use a VPN that will encrypt all your internet activity.
NordVPN shields your browsing from hackers and surveillance. All the data you send and receive online travels through an encrypted tunnel so that no one can get their hands on your information.
Share your own cybersecurity tips in the comments below!