Most of us make basic cybersecurity mistakes every single day, an expert warns.
This includes knowing your password by heart, letting junk mail clutter your inbox and not using two-factor authentication.
The threat from hackers and other bad actors in cyberspace is significant, with an estimated one in three homes with a computer having a device infected with malware.
Overall, 47 percent of American adults have had their personal information exposed by cybercriminals.
This week, the FBI broke the world’s largest online criminal marketplace, where hackers flogged bank, eBay, Amazon and Facebook accounts for as little as 50 cents.
Millions of Americans make mistakes every day that put themselves and their information at risk, Zane Bond, chief product officer at cybersecurity firm Keeper Security, warned. they:
Saving passwords can be a huge mistake (file image)
Most of us make basic cybersecurity mistakes, says Zane Bond, Chief Product Officer at Keeper Security
If your password is easy to remember, it’s easy for cybercriminals to crack it, Bond warns.
Bond also says that using one strong password across multiple accounts is “setting yourself up for failure.”
“The best way to ensure that you have strong, unique passwords is with a password manager that can generate and store them for you,” he says.
“With a secure password manager, you only have to remember one master password and you can rest assured that your other passwords are very difficult for cybercriminals to crack.”
Do not unsubscribe from junk email
Failing to unsubscribe from junk email can make you easy prey for phishers (file photo)
The expert said cybercriminals are counting on us to make a mistake and click on the wrong link – so you need to make sure you don’t get flooded with promotions and marketing materials.
He says that unsubscribing from junk email (like marketing emails you receive after buying something online) can help keep you safe.
“Unsubscribing every time you see the option will help prevent email overload,” says Bond.
“Less spam buildup in your inbox means less chances of making mistakes, and more time and energy to pursue phishing attacks.”
Users should also use built-in defenses to avoid clicking risky links.
“Don’t click on any link you don’t have to,” he says. Instead, you have to go to the website and open it yourself through a browser.
You can also hover over a link to make sure it brings you where it claims to be.
Do not create a “guest” network for your home visitors
Have you set up a guest network for your home? (image file)
Most of us neglect to take basic security measures to protect our home Wi-Fi network – like setting up a separate “guest” network.
A guest network means that guests can’t accidentally bring malware into your home – and they can’t access your devices.
It will appear as “Your Network Name – Guest” and have a separate password, and it is enabled from your router’s menu.
“The simple precautions you take to secure your home Wi-Fi network will help prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your phones, tablets, computers, and IoT devices,” says Bond.
You can secure your Wi-Fi network by making sure it has a strong and unique password, setting up separate Wi-Fi for guests, turning on encryption for your router, using a VPN, and keeping your router software up-to-date.
Failing to plan your digital afterlife
Bond warns that one of the biggest cybersecurity mistakes we all make is failing to plan for death.
When you die, your loved ones will need access to your information — and very few of us bother to plan for that.
Bond says, “Two things are guaranteed in life: death and taxes. One we have to deal with, and one we try to avoid even thinking about.”
“Our lives are increasingly migrating into the digital world, and we need to look at how our loved ones can access the information they need when we are no longer here.
The process involves taking a digital inventory of your online presence, assets and liabilities; designate a digital heir to receive your credentials and assets; And come up with a plan like storing credentials and personal documents in a secure password manager that can be passed on to your digital heir.
Ignore two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication can help you stay safe online (file photo)
Microsoft research shows that using two-factor authentication can make your accounts up to 99.9% more secure.
Most online accounts offer two-factor authentication (in addition to a password, you’re protected by requesting a code from an app or sending it via SMS.
“Add MFA where you can, starting with your most important accounts: email, social media, banking, cryptocurrency, etc.,” says Bond.
You can also integrate MFA into your password manager’s autofill feature, so Password Manager takes that second step for you.