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Digital technology is gaining more significance in our lives, making the personal data of a user as important as the material goods it holds.
At the same time, it makes them equally vulnerable in terms of attacks, with criminals flooding beyond the real world, and cyberspace. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, although users are more aware of the magnitude of this threat, they continue to make the same cyber-security mistakes.
ESET collected seven of the main mistakes and presents them, offering practical tips to avoid them:
- Email. Regular email phishing has become very common and cybercriminals are constantly improving. In order to be protected, users should not neglect the careful checking of each email regarding the recipient and subject using common sense. In case of doubt, Google search can help a lot about validity. Also, be careful with the attachments, checking file extensions and opening only files that are considered safe and from trusted sources.
- Social Media Networks. Social media has become the new favorite of cyber criminals, while many users still look careless with their accounts – for example, a 2016 survey showed that 58% of users do not know how to update their privacy settings. As with emails, the user must always check the originality of the sender, the message, and the link. Particular attention is also needed on popular hashtags, as many nasty people use them to fool unsuspecting Twitter and Facebook users who are trying to get updates on the latest news.
- “It will not happen to me”. Culture is undoubtedly the biggest security issue at the moment. From simple users to managing directors, everyone thinks the same thing, that is something bad will not happen to them. This complacency is wrong, as we all are a target and a potential victim. However, by implementing some basic, simple steps, we can be safe: correct password usage, regular software updates, anti-virus, password manager, VPN and encryption applications.
- Access codes. Weak passwords such as 123456, password, 12345678, qwerty etc. remain common and are very easy to “break”. According to Forrester, 80% of all attacks include a weak or stolen password. Fortunately, some services are now forcing users to create random or complex passwords. A password manager application, as well as the use of a “complicated” password with letters, numbers and characters, are also very good solutions.
- No software updates. Desktop, Laptop, and Mobile regularly need to install software updates to applications, the operating system, or the security solution. Many users are frustrated by the pop-up alerts that they are reminded about updates, but in fact they are extremely important. Without updates, software and devices are prone to attacks, as cybercriminals are trying to take advantage of vulnerabilities that have not been repaired. The choice to do so automatically when we trust the software or application developer can prove to be life-saving in this case.
- Suspicious Links. URLs, in addition to interesting electronic destinations, can also lead to code and data theft, and even malware attacks. Before clicking on this shortened link, we wonder if we trust the sender who sent it or the platform we found it, as well as the destination that is supposed to lead us. Particularly cautious should be when this Link coincides with major events (natural disasters, major sporting events) as cyber criminals usually exploit them to achieve their goals. Especially in shortened URLs, we can use LongURL and CheckShortURL and see the original address.
- Antivirus. Many users believe that if they visit only secure pages on the internet are not in danger, the fact is that the device can be infected by visiting trusted sites that have been compromised or become a victim of a “zero-day” attack on browser vulnerability . Using a reliable security solution can prove to be a valuable ally, as thousands of experts work every day to detect malware and eliminate them, keeping users safe.
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