Wednesday, February 7, 2024

4 Online Security Mistakes You Shouldn't Be Making


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How often do you think about your online safety and security? For most people, unless they have directly experienced someone hacking their accounts or stealing their identity, they'll likely not give it much thought. But being able to stay safe online, regardless of whether you are operating a business, running a blog, or using social media, should be something you are actively working towards to help you avoid falling victim to common scams.

So, with this in mind, how do you stay safe and secure your online activities so no one can take advantage of you? For starters, there are four mistakes you need to avoid making.

Don't Use The Same Password

If you've been using the same password since your very first venture online and you use this password for all of your accounts, then stop. Everyone knows the importance of using strong passwords that are unique to every single site that you use, but be honest, do you pay attention and do it? A survey by the Security Magazine found that 33% of people use the same password for multiple accounts.

If this is you, then you need to stop right now and use a password manager. This will help you find and apply hard-to-guess random passwords unique to each site you use that requires your password.

Not Clearing Your Browsing History

But saving the information makes it easier to find what you need and log into your account, right? After all, being already logged in, having your popular searches saved, and so on just makes life easier. It does, however, also make life easier for anyone who gains access to your devices too. If you are hacked or your phone, laptop, etc, is stolen, not only will they have access to your online activities but also your accounts if you are staying logged in constantly.

You need to be clearing your search history and cookies on a regular basis so your activities are wiped just in case you are compromised. Click here to see how to clear your google search history so that should someone find themselves in control of your accounts; you aren't giving them everything they want on a plate!

Not Turning On MFA

MFA or multi-factor authentication basically adds extra steps or methods of logging into accounts using this service. Let's use Paypal. When logging into your account, not only do you need to enter your password, but you also need to complete an additional step, which is either having them call you, send text or send a WhatsApp message. Sure, this might take a bit longer to access your account, but if it was someone triggering this step, a) you get alerted to someone trying to log in, and b) they don't get into your account because you need to enter the code generated and sent to you.

If you have skipped this rep because it's too much hassle, then you're making a big mistake because a hacker could be in your accounts before you even realise anything is wrong. 

Other options for MFA include using biometrics, i.e. your facial recognition or fingerprint; when you use your phone, it can be entering a passcode on top of a password, answering a memorable question or selecting digits from a code or word, i.e. you need to put in the first, fifth and eighth letter of your memorable word. Whatever it is, activate it and give yourself added peace of mind.

Clicking All The Links

Phishing scams are becoming more sophisticated, no longer the standard "we have money in your name. Please click here to find out more" emails working. Scammers are using companies to trick people into handing over their information. In the UK, the most common phishing scams are ones pretending to be from delivery companies, HMRC for a tax refund or banks telling you you have been hacked (although these are more commonly via phone calls).

If you're the kind of person who clicks the links and panics when they get these types of emails, stop. 9 times out of 10, they are scams. You can identify these types of emails in a few ways.

Click the senders details to see the email the communication came from. If it's fake, it won't match the company they are pretending to be from. If it resembles a legitimate email, close it, head to the site via your usual methods, and double-check the emails they use. Look for spelling or grammatical mistakes, as this too is a dead giveaway it's not real or simply trust your gut. If you don't have any packages to be delivered, why pay attention to a notice telling you that you need to pay additional postage or import fees? If it doesn't make sense, it's likely fake.

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