Nearly everything we do these days is done online. We shop there; we chat there, we spend our lives connected. And because we’re all there, that’s where the criminals are now too.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center 2018 Internet Crime Report, published earlier this year, states that there were 351,936 complaints of cybercrime, at a cost of $2.7 billion. This is an increase on the previous year.
While you might think that cybercrime is something that affects big businesses, the truth is that many of those victims were ordinary people like you. And if you don’t protect yourself carefully online, you could be next.
Are you as clued up about internet security as you should be? Here are some of the stupid mistakes you could be making with your cybersecurity that you need to put an end to now.
Believing you’re immune to it
Many people mistakenly believe that they’ll never be victims of cybercrime – why would anyone want your details? However, you’re just as likely to be a victim as the next person. Hackers and other types of cybercriminals hunt out data which can be used to their advantage, so if you don’t take steps to protect yourself online, you could soon see yourself becoming a victim.
Some of the simplest ways to protect yourself include getting recommended antivirus software and making sure it’s updated regularly. A secure VPN (virtual private network) will mask where your IP address to help you browse safely – check out VPNpro for details. Having those basics covered will give you a basic level of protection and is easy to set up.
People who don’t use the internet much sometimes think there can’t be much information out there out them, but everyone who ever goes online has a data trail, they can leave you vulnerable. If you’re not sure what information is out there about you, you can measure your digital footprint.
Sharing all of your personal information online
Are you guilty of sharing an airport selfie? Photos of your brand new car? Your address? These little nuggets of information are all it takes for criminals to plan how they’re going to steal from you. Of all of the things to know about cybersecurity in 2019, checking your behavior on social is one of them.
While you might think you can trust everyone on your friend’s list, it’s sadly not always the case. Think twice about the information you’re posting online, and if you want to share those vacation snaps, perhaps it’s best to wait until you come home.
Thinking having a Mac reduces your risk
“I’ll get a Mac because they’re immune to viruses,” said plenty of people. But having a Mac doesn’t mean you’re able to avoid all cybercrime. While there are many myths about owning a Mac that isn’t true, one of the biggest is that Macs can’t get viruses. Macs are still susceptible (cybercriminals can be smart sometimes), and anyone is prone to malware or a phishing scam. While they do offer better protection against viruses than other types of computer, you still need to pay attention to cybersecurity as a Mac user.
Being taken in by ‘genuine’-looking emails
Think you know how to spot a phishing email? It could be harder than you think. Some phishing emails are becoming more and more convincing, which is why a double-check of everything that looks suspicious is a good idea. Most of the time, you can identify a risky email by taking a look at the ‘From’ field in more detail, but whatever you do, don’t click anything within the email. It’s easy enough to get excited about a prize win or concerned that you’ve unknowingly spent money at the Apple Store, but think twice about the likelihood of this before you start taking any action.
Not changing your password regularly
How often do you change your password? It’s good practice to get into the habit of frequently changing your passwords. If you’re concerned about your data being compromised, you should make sure you add the Google Password Checkup extension to your browser. It will help alert you to any passwords that have been detected in a data breach and help you change them easily. Make your passwords complicated and impossible to guess, using ‘password’ is one of the dumbest moves you could make online.
Taking your cybersecurity seriously can help ensure you protect your data online. From identity fraud to having your details leaked online, there’s a lot that can go wrong if you’re not careful. Start wising up to cybersecurity and make sensible choices when using the internet. It only takes one action for you to become another cybersecurity statistic, so start protecting yourself now.