6 Bad Cyber Security Habits That Put Your Digital Lives At Risk

2017 is inching closer to an end. 2018 is around the corner. It is that time of the year again. The time when we vow to disavow some bad habits and form new habits that will take our lives to new orbits.

  • But, how about your digital life habits?
  • Do you even think about them?
  • Have you thought about encrypting your website information transferred between browser and server & prepping for defence against cyber attacks?
  • How about changing that password that you have been using for the past 4 years?

Well, we live our lives glued to computer screens and smartphone taps. We are more active on our digital avatars than with our physical body. Posts, pics, tweets, retweets, comments, favorites, upvotes. Phew! What a busy digital life we have!

2018, promise yourself that will let go of some bad habits that is posing a serious security threat.

If you are an enterprise that has a growing employee base, this is the time to teach them the good and the bad cyber security habits.

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Bad Habit #1: Never Changing Your Password

Imagine your password to be your toothbrush. Will you use the same toothbrush without changing for months long? Won’t you be changing every month, if not at least every three months?

The same goes with your password. Passwords should not remain the same for long. Using old passwords for long makes it easy for hackers to reverse engineer and crack their way into your personal accounts.

The good habit you need to develop: Change your password after min 6 months. Now that is one reminder that is not so easy to ignore. Make it a point to change your password every month, if not at least every second or third month.

Bad Habit #2: Installing Unknown Applications

There is a mobile app for everything. But, should you download everything just because it is available for free?

Some apps are from unknown sources and may have serious security loopholes that hackers can exploit. Also, these apps ask for several of your permissions, including access to messages, contacts, camera, device ID, phone information and many others. A single security breach is all that takes to lose your digital identity on the Internet.

So ditch that bad habit of installing unknown applications or applications from unverified sources.

Bad Habit #3: Clicking On Malicious Links

Phishing is a real security threat. Every day hundreds of mails gets filtered as spam and sent to your junk folder. Apart from these mails, there could be several others that could be finding their way into your inbox.

Click on any one of them and you have fallen prey to a phishing attack. Phishing attacks come in the form of fake emails from superiors, emails requesting to change old passwords, request for mandatory fund transfer and so on.

There is no surefire way to identify a phishing mail from a safe email. You have to exercise caution while clicking on any links in email. A better option would be to visit the website directly and submit the information if it is really required.

Bad Habit #4: Skipping Security Updates

Skipping a security update led to the massive outage of the WannaCry ransomware across 100+ countries. Following every WannaCry, several other ransomware attacks were also staged across the world.

Would you like your data to be held for ransom? Would you risk to lose it forever? So, be prompt in installing security updates. Turn on notifications for security updates. Still better if you can opt for automatic security updates that run in the background while you are working on your files.

Bad Habit #5: Not Investing In Security Measures

If you have a business website or an online store that transacts business or collects money over the Internet, you need to invest in security measures like Comodo Positive SSL Multi Domain certificate if have multiple sites to target for business in different countries. Otherwise Standard SSL certificate or EV SSL certificate is perfect choice. A SSL certificate will encrypt information that is sent and received between server and web browser. Failing to set up encryption and similar security measures, may make you victim of security breaches.

Bad Habit #6: Giving Out Too Much Information Online

Have you heard of social engineering? Originally intended for good motives, it is now emerging as a serious threat for cyber security. In cyber security terms, social engineering refers to performing actions that will result in divulging confidential information.

It can take several forms, like, letting out too much location information, your personal contact details, etc. which should have some basic level of privacy. Of course, this doesn’t apply to businesses, but for individuals who need to safeguard their individual digital identity, protecting these information is really essential.

So next time you go out on a fancy dinner, you might want to suppress that urge to share it on Instagram right away. Same applies to Twitter and Facebook social handles.

Also, ensure that your social media profiles are setup with maximum privacy. Every social channel like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, etc. comes with a host of privacy settings that will protect your sensitive information from the world’s gaze. Enable them without fail to stay secure on the web.

In a Nutshell

Good or bad habits can make or break a person, and also their digital lives. From setting up passwords to installing applications on your smartphone or using social media, every single act on the Internet counts.

Don’t underestimate the danger of divulging private information online. Even the tiniest detail can be used against you. Hackers are deploying social engineering, reverse engineering and a host of several other inventive techniques that is leaving users defenseless. These bad habits add to their convenience.

In this coming year, ensure that you ditch your bad cyber security habits and adopt good ones that will secure your data and and your digital future.

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