Cybersecurity 101: Online Behaviors That You Should Stop Doing

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Protect your data by not doing these things online
Image from Richard Patterson / Flickr

An average person would share a significant amount of personal and identifiable data over the internet to different platforms every time they log in to their social media accounts, buy something online, sign up for a promotion, or just by browsing the internet out of boredom. These data include names, IP addresses, email addresses, location, credit card numbers, and in some cases, sensitive data like intimate messages, phone recordings, and social security numbers.

While many of the online companies right now are promising security to their users, many of these supposedly secured platforms still experience some sort of data leak and expose user data to the privy eyes of cybercriminals because when data are floating out there, there will always be someone who will fish for them.

Cyber attacks are everywhere, and this is the time that people become more vigilant in their cyber usage and data handling. Even huge corporations like Facebook have experienced it in the past.

Safe-keeping your data may be a responsibility of the company you entrusted them to, but you also have to be very careful with the data that you share. In most cases, recklessness of the data owner can lead to tremendous and dangerous data phishing, so prevention is better than cure.

But making sure that your data is protected is not hard. Besides, there’s just enough that you can do to prevent your data from falling in the hands of evil hackers. The first step to safe-keeping your data is by having good online behavior and following basic security protocols.

Nonetheless, we as people have taken for granted some of the basic internet don’ts, putting our data in serious security risk. Here are some of the behaviors that everyone should avoid to maximize the protection of your data.

USING ONE PASSWORD ON ALL YOUR ACCOUNTS

As an average person, it is understandable to have accounts in different social media platforms and websites and to use a single and having a universal password is beneficial in the short run. Memorizing different passwords is truly a tough task for everyone, but the thing about having a universal password is it maximizes the effect of a cyber attack.

When a hacker gets hold of your universal password, he can easily open all your accounts and download all data that is stored in them. Conversely, having a unique password for every account that you have isolates an attack to the site where the obtained password works.

If you’re bothered that having multiple passwords will result in you forgetting about them, there are apps that you can download to manage your passwords in one place. The downside of this, however, is that if the password manager is compromised, all of your passwords is also compromised. The trick in this is to use passwords that are strong but can be remembered easily or safe-keeping them in cold storage or any offline and secured storage in your house or your office.

NOT READING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Terms and Conditions are long, and it’s most definitely understandable if you won’t sit and read all of what’s written there. But always remember that “Terms and Conditions” serve as a contract between you and the service that you are using. All the security and data handling are stipulated there. In most cases, T&C’s are where service would put what kind of data they are collecting from you and how they are going to use it. Without a knowledge of this information that was readily available to you before you signed up for the service, you maybe are giving them data that you don’t consent to or they are selling your data to a third party without you know. It always pays to read the T&Cs.

CONNECTING TO A PUBLIC NETWORK CONNECTION

Here’s the thing, the internet is readily accessible to anyone right now for a low price, so avoid connecting your devices and using public WiFi. By connecting to these networks, you allow other computing systems – computers, smartphones – to see what you are doing in your device. They can also have access to the files saved in your internal storage. This is dangerous especially if you are using public WiFi to submit sensitive information like credit card numbers and social security numbers. As much as possible, if the need is not that urgent, do not connect your device to public networks.

SUBMITTING DATA TO NON-SECURED WEBSITES

But wait, how do you know if the website is secured or not? Well, you have to check the URL. The simplest way to see the security of the site you are in is by looking if it uses HTTPS instead of HTTP. By being vigilant in that way, you can avoid sending data to websites that may potentially use your data in ways you don’t want your data to be used.

CLICKING SUSPICIOUS LINKS AND EMAILS

This is very self-explanatory. If you find a link suspicious, don’t click on it. The same goes with emails as well. If you were informed that you won $1 million for a contest you did not join, do not fall for the ruse. Chances are, these are phishing links, and they will extract your data without you realizing that you have been fooled.

IN CONCLUSION: Being able to protect yourself as much as you can from cyberattacks that may have dangerous consequences for you and your finances keeps your peace. Be vigilant and be cautious with the data that you share online. /apr

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