Recent years have seen major advances in cybersecurity. With many of us constantly online in some form or another, keeping ourselves safe on the web has become more important than ever. However, security breakthroughs haven’t done much to deter dedicated cybercriminals, who are constantly trying to find workarounds to every new roadblock – and the last thing you want to do is make their job easier. Unfortunately, without even realizing it, many of us regularly make an assortment of potentially-consequential cybersecurity blunders. To protect yourself and your devices from the machinations of cybercriminals, make a point of avoiding the following mistakes.
Not Using Dedicated Antivirus Software
People tend to be surprisingly cavalier when it comes to computer viruses. If we’ve never fallen prey to a virus or it’s been a long time since we’ve been faced with one, catching one is unlikely to be foremost on our minds. However, this degree of complacency is exactly what virus developers want. If computer viruses aren’t even on your radar, you’re unlikely to take any preventative measures against them, thereby making yourself a prime target for infection. Additionally, while most operating systems provide some level of virus protection, this generally isn’t enough to take the place of a dedicated antivirus program. That being the case, you shouldn’t delude yourself into thinking that you don’t need antivirus software. Dependable antivirus programs can provide effective protection against an ever-increasing assortment of viruses and malicious software, and the longer you go without one, the more vulnerable your devices are to infection.
Failing to Update Operating Systems and Apps
We all know that installing updates can be mildly annoying. For example, if you’re on a roll with work or having fun surfing the web, a system update can throw a wrench into your momentum. By the same token, opening up an app and being greeted by an update notification is sure to prompt an eye-roll. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that most updates are created to protect, not annoy. In many cases, updates are created specifically to combat emerging security threats and keep users safe. Furthermore, the longer you postpone installing updates, the longer your devices will remain vulnerable to the threats these updates were designed to neutralize.
In order to be fully effective, operating systems, antivirus programs and other software need to be updated on a consistent basis. So, rather than allowing critical updates to pile up, make a point of installing them as quickly as possible. This may mean taking a short break from whatever you’re working on, but this minor inconvenience will result in enhanced threat protection.
Clicking Suspicious Links
Many people won’t think twice before clicking on any link with which they’re presented. Given that malicious links are among the most popular ways to spread virus and malware, failing to exercise caution in this area can have disastrous consequences. With this in mind, avoid clicking any links found in emails, texts or social media messages from unfamiliar parties. Furthermore, steer clear of any links found on websites you don’t fully trust and avoid visiting sites that trigger security alerts.
Not Utilizing Password Protection
While entering and remembering passwords can be a bit annoying, password protection can keep your networks and devices safe from a host of threats. As such, make a point of password-protecting every computer and internet-capable device you own. In addition to deterring hackers, this will help ensure that if any of these devices are ever stolen, the thieves won’t gain access to your data. Similarly, enabling password protection for your home network is a great way to keep uninvited guests at bay. For maximum effectiveness, create a complex password that’s impossible to guess and change it on a semi-regular basis.
In the digital age, none of us can afford to take cybercrime lightly. With data theft, malware propagation and virus development proceeding at an even clip, it behooves everyone to bolster their digital defenses. However, even in the face of all these threats, many people don’t even attempt to protect their data and devices. While adhering to cybersecurity protocols may strike you as cumbersome, your efforts in this area can keep you safe and provide tremendous peace of mind.