I’m not a certified online security expert, but I’ve been on the internet long enough with enough experience to tell you a thing or two about how people fall victim to hack attacks. Well, some of the tips given in this article are simple common sense, and some actually need you to be a bit tech-savvy.
Staying safe on the internet reduces the risk of getting hacked and losing your accounts, personal and financial info. However, the truth remains that even if you follow all these tips, you can’t totally prevent getting hacked. You can only reduce it the risk.
If you’ve been doing any of these, it’s time to stop. Here are ten stupid ways people get hacked on the internet everyday:
1. Downloading cracks and keygen
Quite a lot of us have been there, trying to save money and looking for free software programs, cracks and keygens. Hackers understand that you’re desperate and they leverage on this, giving you what you need while hiding malicious codes within the software. Don’t be surprised if every keystroke on your computer is being sent to a 15-year-old hacker in a dingy room somewhere in another continent.
2. Following links stupidly
Ever heard of phishing? When a fake website is disguised as the legitimate one? People fall victim to such scam emails asking them to update their banking details and other sensitive information. Before you follow a link that asks you to login to your account or update any information, check the address bar and be sure you’re on the legitimate website. Never trust all emails. Never trust all websites with your financial details.
We have an extensive article on phishing already and I suggest you check that out.
3. Granting unnecessary apps access to your account
Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of people on my Facebook friends list taking fake quizzes almost everyday. This means you are granting these apps access to post on your wall. Now, if whoever created these apps decide to go rogue, most of these users are going to end up with embarrassing posts on their walls and spam messages being sent to their friends.
There was a time Facebook became a home to pornographic pictures and videos thanks to apps like these. Messages with sexual content were all over the place and some people’s account were used to upload images and videos, tagging all their friends without knowing it. All because the wrong apps have access to their accounts.
Here is a word of advice: revoke the permissions you’ve granted these useless apps.
4. Using someone else’s PC
There’s nothing wrong with using your friend’s PC, but as a rule, I never enter any sensitive info when using a computer that’s not mine. What if there’s a keylogger installed without even the owner’s knowledge? What if you even forgot to log out? What if the owner even has other plans for you? What if… never mind, you already think I’m just being paranoid.
5. Thinking security should take care of itself
You have no active and updated antivirus on your computer, no anti-malware, you’ve even disabled Windows Defender which is your last line of defense. Don’t worry, you might soon learn the hard way.
6. Not running updates
When Microsoft or Apple issues an update, they might be trying to patch a vulnerability in your version of Windows or macOS. Be sure you’re always running the latest version of whatever operating system you’re using.
7. Trusting too much
This goes without saying, but you shouldn’t trust anyone with your login details. Even if this person means you no harm, they may become careless with your sacred username and password. You already know what’s going to happen if this should fall into the wrong hands.
8. Using weak/universal passwords that could be guessed
You’ve probably heard this 999 times already but your password must be fairly complex with alphabets, numerals and symbols all in the mix. Again, you should never use the same password on every website.
9. Looking for goodies online
This is common sense: if it’s too good to be true, it’s definitely a big fat lie and possibly a trap.
10. Refusing to take action after a massive password dump
A password dump isn’t your fault and there’s no way you could’ve prevented it, but taking action after knowing about it is your duty. Don’t be surprised tomorrow if you hear it in the news that hackers have released 500 million Facebook login details on the dark web, it’s up to you to immediately change your password if this happens.
As mentioned earlier, avoiding these mistakes doesn’t guarantee you won’t get hacked, it only minimizes the risk. But then, you should play your own part and do what you can to keep yourself safe on the internet.