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Common Computer Security Mistakes

Thief attempting to break into a laptop computer wrapped in chains and secured with a padlock

We’ve compiled some of the common computer security mistakes people make and what to do to ensure you’re computer is protected.

1. Your passwords aren’t strong enough

Hackers are using increasingly sophisticated software to crack passwords in a shorter amount of time.

Many people make the mistake of using simple dictionary words and using them across a range of logins. Another common mistake is sharing passwords with others, especially in public or writing a password down and leaving it somewhere everyone can see.

Here are a number of tips to ensure you enhance your password:

  • The longer the better
  • Make it complex
  • Make it random
  • It should contain both numbers and letter
  • It should be a combination of upper and lower case characters
  • You should change it periodically
  • Consider using a common phrase but as an acronym. For example “A stitch in time saves nine” becomes “Asits9”

2. You don’t have the latest security patches

No software is perfect and often hackers find a way of exploiting that. When a security flaw emerges in a piece of software it creates a window of opportunity for hackers. Those who don’t implement a patch as soon as possible become vulnerable to an attack.

Ensure you have auto-update turned on your PC or Mac. Some apps and software have auto-update features as well. These should be turned on.

It is good idea to run manual checks every so often as a precautionary step.

3. You don’t backup your files

Computer security is often undone by laziness. Backing up your files should be routine practice and considered an insurance policy. A computer that has been hacked and subsequently crippled takes more time and comes at a greater costs than a routine backup system.

As an example there is malware that can encrypt your computer’s files and hold them to ransom.

Ensure you have a system in place to backup files and make copies of important documents. These files should be kept offsite in case of events like fire or theft

4. Too much trust

Given our increasingly busy schedules, a common mistake that compromises computer security is blindly clicking before taking the time to read warnings or download a file.

One trick employed by hackers is using using ads that are disguised as security messages. These are created in such a way that users believe they need to click the message. Take the time to ensure that your not falling victim to these deceptive security threats.

Another common security mistake is opening email attachments without considering the implications of doing so. Vigilance and a strong spam filter are your best defences, however sometimes what appears to be legitimate email can slip through. A quick online search can often reveal whether an email you have received is a scam.

5. Lack of education

A lack of education about the latest computer security threats can leave people vulnerable. The websites of anti-virus companies are a good source of information. Seek help and don’t turn off security features if you are unsure what they are in place to do. If your a small business owner consider hiring help to setup and secure your network.

Via: AboutTech; All Business; Computer World; Stay Smart Online

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