9 Dangerous Cyber Security Habits (and How to Break Them)

9 Dangerous Cyber Security Habits (and How to Break Them)

2023 is shaping up to be the Year of Living on the Cyber Edge, with the cybercrime industry estimated to reach USD 10.5 trillion annually by 2025. Yet, despite reading and hearing about data leaks daily, we all still have dangerous cybersecurity habits that are hard to break.

Unfortunately, identity theft and account takeovers are very real, with millions of victims yearly. Scammers have become experts at taking advantage of people’s credulity, so even security experts can become victims.

It’s time to whip our cybersecurity habits into shape. Here’s a short list of our worst and most dangerous cyber security habits with simple steps to break them.

Disable Wi-Fi auto-connect for your phone

Almost every shopping mall, library, cafe, or office building offers free Wi-Fi. Turn off the auto-connect function on your devices unless you protect your device with a VPN app. Hackers roam these spaces with cheap gadgets to steal your credentials and data via Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks.

Protect your smart gadgets

Ownership of smart devices is surging. People are adding smart TVs, security cameras, smart fridges, vacuum cleaners, and health and beauty devices as fast as they can buy them. The problem is that each gadget opens its insecure channel to your Wi-Fi.

Criminals love them.

Prevent your smart toys from becoming a gateway(s) into your home network by routing all of them via a secure VPN. And remember to change the default passwords!

Use a link scanner against Phishing

Common or garden-variety phishers typically use a scattergun approach. They send generic messages to massive mailing lists of harvested email addresses. Spear phishers occupy a higher position in the scamming hierarchy. They use personal data to craft more effective messages aimed at specific people or target groups.

And then you can work your way up the fishing ladder all the way to whaling, which means a top-notch target with a lot of money or someone who has access to a significant network.

What do they have in common? They lure (pun intended) people into clicking on malicious links or attachments. They’ll send you to sites where they'll steal your login credentials and personal information or infect your device with malware. The cure is simple: Use a link scanner to check the validity and safety of links.

Protect playtime with a gaming VPN

The most obvious security benefits to using VPN while gaming are protection against hacking, DDoS attacks, doxing, and losing access to your account. But apart from safety, there’s far less lag and better response times if you use a server that’s been optimized for gaming.

Stop using weak or old Passwords

A good password is hard to remember, and people have an average of 90+ passwords. In a game of “Human Memory” vs. “100 Passwords,” we know who will lose. So don’t reuse the oldies and goodies. Instead, use a password manager and spend your time playing games that are far more fun. If possible, always use two-factor authentication (2FA) for any account that supports it.

Remember to Back it up

Imagine the gut-clenching horror of being locked out of your computer and losing all your documents, photos, movies, medical information, and work data. Nothing can prepare you for the shock, fury, and feelings of self-recrimination. You'll have to start from scratch if you can’t restore your computer. Make those backups!

Please update your software

Criminals jump all over flaws in operating systems, browsers, and apps. They target PCs, mobile phones, and even IOT-enabled gadgets. Enable automatic updates and click upgrade when requested.

Avoid non-secure websites

SSL certificates (the padlock at the top left of a URL) are now ubiquitous on the internet because they’re easy and even free to install. A site without encryption (a non-HTTPS site) is either so outdated that it’s almost guaranteed to be unsafe or is knowingly malicious. Fraudsters can intercept everything you do on dangerous websites.

Protect all your devices

If you use legitimate software, your PC might be relatively safe, especially if you use one of the many Linux distros. But did you know that there are hundreds of thousands of malicious or badly coded mobile apps in official play stores? Malware apps can log your keystrokes, record your calls, intercept live chats, and activate your device’s camera and microphone without knowing it. So, secure all your devices, not just your laptop!

Some final advice on dangerous cyber security habits

Don’t blur the lines between your work life and private activities. For example, never register on retail sites with your work email. Large companies get hacked all the time, which may, in turn, compromise your work email and password. Don’t give hackers accidental access to your work network! It’s far safer to keep business and pleasure separate.

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.
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9 Dangerous Cyber Security Habits (and How to Break Them)