10 Common Computer Security Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The average American spends over 3 hours of their day on computers and smartphones.

Of course, it could be a lot more depending on what you do, but during all this time, how often do you think about your safety? Do you ever think about how vulnerable you are?

With hackers releasing over 300,000 malicious programs every day, security should be a top priority. Most people make computer security mistakes they’re not aware of, and sometimes it ends in fraud or identity theft.

For you to prevent any of these, we’ll highlight some of the most common computer security mistakes you might be making, and help you avoid them.

1. Clicking on Unsafe Links

Questionable links are all over the internet and sometimes you never know they’re unsafe until you click them.

Most of the time, you come across these links when downloading things like music, photos and applications. The thing is, these questionable links appear legitimate, but the minute you click on them, they add malware to your system.

There are various types of malware, from ransomware to Trojan horses and worms. Depending on what you get, you risk losing your personal data like credit card and bank account information, which will eventually lead to either fraud or identity theft. The best way to avoid this is to stick to a reputable website when downloading anything, and if you have any doubts, then abandon the links and find an alternative.

2. Downloading Unsafe Anti-Virus Software

How many times have you come across an antivirus pop-up warning about your computer safety? Countless times, right? You see, these are rarely legitimate antivirus software worried about your safety.

These are usually malware designed by hackers to deceive uses and ride on their fear of viruses. It’s ironic that they pose as a security solution while they are actually the problem, but that how hackers work.

Clicking on these links will lead to downloading an infectious malware that could do a number of bad things to your system. The best thing you can do is download a legitimate antivirus software and ensure it’s updated at all times.

3. Using Public WiFi

Using public WiFi is never a good idea, especially if you want to access business and personal information. Public networks are rarely secure, and sometimes they are intentional traps. Most hackers are well aware that most people like free WiFi, so they find a nice spot and create access points for everyone who’s willing to join.

The thing is, these access points are usually laden with malware and the minute you join their network, they access your personal information and passwords.

The next thing you know, you’re dealing with corrupt files, and other worse consequences. The solution here is to avoid public WiFi altogether or at the very least, avoid accessing personal information when using it.

4. Answering Malicious Emails

Emails are the most common avenues that hackers use to get to their victims through phishing emails.

Most phishing emails involve winning something or avoiding the IRS and other enticing things that most people can’t help but click.

The email could also ask you to click and view a shocking video, but instead of clicking on it, the best thing you can do is delete it. You can’t win a lottery you never participated in anyway. Always check the sender of the email to ensure it’s a trusted contact before you click on the link or answer the email.

5. Slacking on Software Updates

Most people feel like updates are just a bother that they can do without, but this is not the case.

On the contrary, updates are vital because they fix any loops hackers find on software programs. Slacking on these updates is easily one of the most common computer security mistakes people make.

You may have a reliable anti-virus installed on your system, but if a hacker has found an entryway through an older version of a software program, there really is no stopping them. The easiest solution to this problem is to conduct regular software updates as soon as new updates are available.

6. Repeating Passwords

When most people read stories about cybersecurity, for some reason, they think that it wouldn’t happen to them. For these reasons alone, a lot of people make the mistake of repeating their passwords on multiple websites. This is arguably the worst computer security mistakes you could make.

There is something known as daisy-chaining that hackers absolutely love because when they find that they can access several websites using the same password, they have a field day.

You must create separate passwords for all your websites, and even add two-factor authentication.

7. Using Weak Passwords

This is the next biggest computer security mistake people make because weak passwords are just as bad as repeat passwords.

Hackers use brute force attacks on weak passwords and the simpler your passwords are, the sooner they will access your sites. The solution here is to use strong passwords with lower case and upper case letters combined with numbers and symbols, which are harder to guess.

8. Not Safeguarding Your Webcam

Webcam hacks are real, and they are the scary kind of hacks. Certain malware can give hackers access to your PC and to your webcam, and you can imagine they’ll be recording.

You see, PC webcams are not protected like other network-protected devices so it’s important for you to know when your webcam is active. You can tape over the camera, but that’s not enough so disable audio as well. If you realize you have a problem you can’t resolve, take your computer to a PC repair shop.

9. Clicking on Short Links

Short links are becoming more and more popular on most social media platforms, but the issue here is that you never know where they are leading. It’s quite easy to click on a malware through a short link, so use a browser with link previews to avoid this.

10. Ignoring SSL Warnings

If you come across security warnings advising you against unsafe connections, ignoring them has been one of your biggest computer security mistakes. The thing is, there was something enticing at the other end of that warning, so you hit “continue” despite the warning.

Such websites have invalid, expired, or non-existent SSL certifications, and generally unsafe. These websites are vulnerable to hackers, and once you access them, the hackers will have access to your computer as well.

Always Avoid These Common Computer Security Mistakes

There you have it! These are some of the most common computer security mistakes, and they are dangerous. Hacking techniques are getting sophisticated by the day, and you need to protect yourself at all times.

Avoid these mistakes and minimize your chances of encountering malware or viruses. If you loved this post and would like more informative articles, our website has so much more on technology, travel, health, and fitness. Check us out today!