Every day, we are play Russian roulette with our computer’s safety, and many of us don’t even realize it. Don’t believe us? Well, here are 10 things that you do on a daily basis that could potentially harm your system, and give cybercriminals a greater reason to attack.
It’s time to start treating your computer with the care and consideration it deserves!
10 things you do daily that put your computer at risk:
1. Using an operating system that is not updated
Be sure to activate the automatic update of your operating system. It might seem obvious, but how many times have you postponed an update because you were too busy at that moment in time? Working with a system that is not updated can leave your computer in an extremely vulnerable position, as cybercriminals are always introducing new ways to hack into your system that it may not be yet prepared to fight. Play it safe, and update it regularly!
2. Using the same password for various accounts
This mistake is extremely common, and many people fail to see the danger of it. If a cybercriminal gains access to your password for just one account, how many more could he possibly access?
The solution? Use different passwords for your different accounts. Make sure your Gmail password isn’t the same as your Facebook, etc. There are some browsers out there that allow you to automatically generate various passwords for various things. Click here to discover Gmail’s awesome password generator, as well as many other secret features! You can take advantage of various password managers, such as Last Pass.
3. Believing that you already have a firewall activated
Today, both Windows and Mac include default firewalls that serve as a strong and reliable shield against the evils that lie in your computer and network. Microsoft itself warns us that we “shouldn’t turn off Windows Firewall unless you have another firewall turned on. Turning off Windows Firewall might make your PC (and your network, if you have one) more vulnerable to damage from worms or hackers.”
4. Connecting to the first open Wi-Fi network you find
If you’re in a public space such as in a hotel or airport, you need to be extremely careful with which Wi-Fi network you connect to. First, make sure it’s the official network for the building and not a neighboring router. You could accidently fall into the traps of cybercriminals who may even use similar names in order to trick you and gain access to your private data.
If you’re using a laptop and you’re trying to connect to a new Wi-Fi network, it’s possible that you will be prompted with a window that asks you confirm the type of configuration you wish to use. If you can, use “Public Network” or similar at all times, so that your computer automatically turns off any file sharing settings that may be activated as well as increasing the strength of the firewall you are currently using.
For added security, try to only browse sites that use https:// in the navigation bar, such as Facebook or Twitter, as this indicates that your data is encrypted therefore not even the owner of the network can view your information. VPNs are also a great tool in these situations.
5. Using BitTorrent to download movies, games and music illegally
We all know why BitTorrent and similar are the most downloaded programs, however it’s much better to download these programs from trusted sites, such as Softonic. It’s no surprise that if you download from unofficial sources, you risk exposing yourself to malicious ads or misleading downloads that can infect your computer in various ways.
6. Searching for free adult entertainment
This habit, is very similar to the previous. The pages that offer free adult content are anything but safe and are basically a nest of cybercriminals waiting to catch you when you least expect it. What can you do? Well, you could opt for paid services, as these companies take your privacy and security into consideration in the hope of providing you a great service and maintaining your business. It’s logical!
7. Searching for scandals on the net (especially celebrity-related)
Every time the intimacies of the rich and famous get exposed, many people use search engines to get more information of the scandal in question. What they don’t realize is that there are also many cybercriminals who know this, therefore will create traps promising related content in order to trick you. If you wish to find legitimate information regarding a particular scandal, try to use sources like Google News (yes we know that it may not be as explicit as you may have wanted, but at least you’ll be safe).
8. Falling for scams on Facebook and the rest of the internet
Although these kind of ads may look trustworthy, the majority of them are not.
If you do happen to fall for one of these traps, there are two possible outcomes. In the best-case scenario, you’ll get a few more ads than you were initially receiving on Facebook. In the worst case scenario, the authors of the trap now have access to your personal information. It’s easy – just ignore them.
9. Being constantly connected to the internet
You don’t always need to be connected to the internet. If you’re planning to leave your computer on and connected for a long time without using it, simply turn off the router in order to cut the connection. Hackers are more attracted to computers which are always connected. If disconnecting your computer is not an option for you, then at least make sure you have a reliable firewall installed beforehand, to avoid any complications.
10. Neglecting your favorite browser
It’s all very well keeping your operating system updated, but what about the browser you use on a daily basis? If you do forget to update your Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, etc, you could be opening yourself up to many cyberattacks.
What can you do? Well, first of all make sure the browser you’re using is the latest version, and if you choose to visit pages you wouldn’t necessarily trust, take advantage of the incognito mode.