5 Things You do Everyday that Make you Vulnerable Online

There are a variety of similar things that each and everyone of us do each day. It may be an early morning job, preparing a special meal, having a drink with friends or just binging on a favorite mystery series while parked in front of a TV. It’s enjoyable, harmless and fills our days with things we enjoy doing.

There’s another thing that we all do each day that is enjoyable, but not necessarily harmless, and that is to log on to the Internet. Whether it’s for work, personal research or simply shopping for a new pair of shoes, we enjoy hitting our favorite websites to get things done. The problem is that without realizing it, we do some specific things that make us vulnerable to the cyber thieves and hackers who are lurking in the background just waiting for us to make the simple mistakes that allow them to steal our personal data and financial information from us.

That’s why we’ve put together a listing of the things you do everyday that make you vulnerable to these cyber crooks. Knowing how to prevent their attempts to steal your personal data will help to keep them from being successful, while keeping your data safe.

Online Phishing

The Biggest Problem: Phishing

When a hacker is successful at phishing, they’ve got you hook, line and sinker. In fact, phishing and financial pretexting is tied to 93% of all data breaches that are investigated, and often are linked to an email that was carelessly opened, a malware link placed on your computer without your knowledge or other online mistakes we all make. According to a Harris polls, over 60 million Americans have had some form of identity theft, and there’s no letup in sight: someone is hacked every 39 seconds.

Sadly, social media is one of the biggest culprits, and if not managed properly it offers hackers an open door to your personal and financial data. Whether it’s dating sites, shared messages or posted photos and videos, the hackers use a variety of methods to snatch your data and information from your computer. One of the biggest ways is by sending you unsolicited emails to connect on various social media platforms.

For example, when texting with a prospective date, do you really know who you’re chatting with? The person could tell you anything they want to make you believe that they’re who they claim to be. Without giving the info they share a second thought, you divulge all types of information about yourself – like where you live, where you work, photos of yourself – and more.

The key is to find out who it is you’re really talking to before you reveal anything about yourself! Use Nuwber to verify their phone number or email and see if it matches up with the name they’re providing, as well as their location. In less than a minute you’ll have all the info you need to know whether or not it’s safe to proceed.

Hacking and Data Theft

Using Autofill? You’re Offering your Data to Hackers!

Everyone likes the convenience of autofill when it comes to entering data on forms. After all, who wants to input the same name, address and other information numerous times when shopping or requesting free information or items. The problem comes in when you start adding all that personal information, along with your credit card information. Hackers and cyber criminals can access that autofill information. Always disable “autofill” on your browser and manually type it in each and every time. Sure it’s a time-wasting pain, but it helps to prevent data theft!

Using the Same Passwords on Accounts Causes Trouble!

If you have a favorite password that you use on all of your password-protected accounts, you’re asking for trouble – with a capital “T.” If a hacker hacks just one of your accounts and uncovers your password, he or she now has carte blanche to every account you have. Experts claim that in order to protect your data and private and financial information, you must have a strong password. What’s “strong?” A 10 character password that includes numbers, symbols and characters. In addition, you must have a unique password for every single account that requires one.

Granted, that’s a lot of passwords to remember. But do not write them down and store them on your computer! That’s a mistake that a lot of people make. They even make it easier for a hacker but labeling it, “passwords.” Talk about handing over the keys to your kingdom to a hacker! Instead, get a password manager.

There are a variety available to you that will not only create a strong password for you, they will store and manage them as well. One of the top free password managers is LastPass, and when it comes to paid password managers, Keeper ranks at the top of PC Magazine’s list. There are many different offers available, with free premium trials and coupons, so check around before you buy.

Virtual Private Network

Start Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

If you frequent coffee shops to work remotely or use your laptop or tablet in public spaces, you’re using public Wi-Fi. That opens your data to those nasty, no-good hackers who can’t wait to grab your data, passwords, personal information and more. That’s not why they call it public Wi-Fi, but that’s why the criminal element flocks to public Wi-Fi places.

Instead, you should be sharing your data over a VPN, a virtual private network when connecting to the Internet. Most Wi-Fi portals require you to enter a phone number and/or address when signing in, and a VPN will help avoid that. A VPN isn’t expensive, and there are several moderately priced ones available to download. All data is encrypted, and the cyber crooks will never see your data. One of the top free VPN is Hotspot Shield, and many top paid VPNs ranked by PC Magazine include TorGuard and TunnelBear. Be aware that like most software, there are coupons online and deals to be had if you’re willing to go multiple years when signing up.

Only use Secure Shopping Websites

When surfing the Internet, did you happen to notice that some website URLs start with “http” while others start with “https?” The difference is “secure” – the “s” in “https” means the website is secure and encrypted, and it’s almost impossible for a hacker to hack in. The “http” website has been around a while, and isn’t as safe as the “https” websites are.

When signing up for a credit card or shipping information, never input that data on an “http” website. If you do, you’re putting you and your family at a huge data loss risk. It’s pretty much taken care of for you on the top websites, but once you start going to websites you’re not familiar with, or websites that only have “http,” watch out. When you’re shopping online, play its safe – and smart. Only go to “https” sites and you can rest easy.

Summary

That’s it. Those are the top 5 things that people do everyday that could put them at risk when they’re online. Follow our suggestions and you’ll be safe when using the Internet. Keeping your personal data and information out of the hands of hackers and cyber criminals should always be your primary goal.

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