If you think everything is online these days, you’re probably not wrong. From streamable television to the ability to pay bills from your couch, the internet has made many things more convenient than ever. However, it can also be a major vulnerability if you aren’t taking steps to protect yourself and your private information from hackers. Here are some common mistakes you might be making, and how to fix them.
It’s tempting to use easily remembered information when it’s time to make a password. And let’s be honest, we’ve all done it. However, birthdays and pet names are low-hanging fruit when it comes to passwords. This information is easy enough to find that many hackers won’t have trouble figuring out your logins.
Instead, make stronger passwords. They don’t have to be 20 characters long. Generally, though, strong passwords are at least 8 characters and contain a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Just make sure to write your passwords down, or use a password manager like LastPass to keep track of everything.
Protecting your passwords is important, but one of the most common hacks doesn’t require your password at all. Instead, hackers “phish” with fake emails. Phishing emails may look legitimate, but they’re meant to trick users into giving up personal information. Other scam emails may contain attachments or links that, when clicked, download malware to your computer.
If you see a suspicious email from places like your bank, Facebook, the IRS, or PayPal claiming there’s a problem with your account, be suspicious. Instead of clicking the link in the email, go directly to the website it claims to be from and log in. If there really is something wrong with your account, you’ll have a notification telling you so. If there’s nothing unusual about your account, go ahead and delete that suspicious email.
Let’s face it. Updating your computer is kind of annoying. It disrupts whatever you’re doing, and if your internet connection isn’t great, it can take forever. But, it’s really important. This is because software updates often include security updates. These are important because they fix bugs or other weak points in your computer’s system, which hackers can exploit. The simplest solution is to update your computer when it tells you to. You can also turn on automatic updates so your computer will update without interrupting what you’re doing.
The important thing to remember is that hackers and scammers are very clever. Scam emails and more could happen to anyone. However, these simple measures will give you more peace of mind when you use the internet.