1. Using Weak Passwords
The passwords you use to login to your computer or your online accounts are the last line of defense for keeping people from accessing your files, information and accounts. Too many people assume that a password like “Smith123” is secure because it uses a few numbers. If you’re using your last name as a password, or something like “passw0rd”, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to getting hacked.
Use a Password Manager: Password managers store your passwords in a format that make it easy to use long, complex passwords. Many of these tools can also generate difficult to crack passwords, and then store them so you don’t have to remember these passwords.
Use Phrases as Passwords: Another strategy for generating better passwords is to use a phrase that is easy for you to remember. For example, you could use “Photography is my favorite hobby.” as a password rather than just “photography”.
2. Running Out-of-Date Software
When software updates are available for your device, whether a computer or phone, you should install those updates as soon as possible. Software updates don’t just include new features, but also essential security fixes that need to be installed to avoid the vulnerability.
3. Using Public Wi-Fi Without a VPN
Public Wi-Fi networks offer great convenience in places like airports and coffee shops. The value of that convenience can be lost in an instant if it means someone is monitoring browsing and stealing your information.
4. Skipping Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is when you have to provide more than just your password to log in to a website or internet account. This might mean having to enter a code that is sent to you via email or text message to log in. This makes it much more difficult for someone to hack into your accounts.
5. Falling Victim to Phishing Attacks or Social Engineering
Even if you use every privacy protection measure available, you can still fall for a phishing attack which could still help someone easily bypass your safeguards. Phishing attacks may come as emails, text messages or social media messages of people pretending to be someone you know. These messages could be asking for bits of information to use to access your accounts or attempting to steal your money.
6. Not Enabling Privacy Settings
Nearly any internet account you use will have some privacy settings. You should ensure that you have enabled any privacy settings to limit what other users can see about you and which information the service can collect. One of the more important settings to pay attention to is location tracking. Many apps (even those that don’t need location data) ask permission to collect your location data.