Technology is progressing quickly, and it’s making everyday life and business activities increasingly easier and more efficient. But, despite good technological advancements and opportunities, many people still have bad cyber habits.
As technology advances, creating good cyber habits for yourself, your company and your employees becomes more and more important. Unfortunately, as the use of technology permeates our processes, the opportunity that cyber criminals have to capitalize on those with bad cyber habits increases as well.
Habits like using the same password for all of your accounts, using simple passwords (like “password”) or connecting to unsecured WiFi can make it incredibly easy for hackers to steal your personal information.
But, breaking these bad habits is only the beginning of creating a safe cyber practice.
Here are three more signs that what you’re doing in your cyber systems is setting you or your business up for a breach (and what to do instead).
1. Sharing Your E-mail Address
Countless websites are asking for your e-mail address.
Sharing your email address with a trusted vendor or renowned e-commerce site ensures that you receive invoices and shipping confirmation, and often, it isn’t cause for alarm. But, many other websites want you to sign up for special offers, notifications, e-mail newsletters and other inbox clutter just so they can sell your e-mail address to advertisers and other third parties.
If your email address is sold and ends up in the wrong hands, hackers can use it for several different kinds of cyberscams, like phishing scams. Hackers can make it look like an e-mail is coming from a legitimate source, close friend, or even a family member to get you to open it, which can result in an even greater breach of your personal information.
What to do instead: Whenever possible, avoid giving out your work or personal e-mail address. If you need to sign up for something and you don’t completely trust the source (or just want to avoid spam), create a “burner” e-mail address you can use. It should be something different from your work or personal e-mail and not associated with business or banking.
2. Not Using HTTPS Websites
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is a part of every web address. For enhanced security, many websites are using HTTPS – the S standing for “secure.” Some web browsers, like Google Chrome, even open HTTPS websites automatically, giving you a more secure connection. Of course, this only works if the website was made with an HTTPS option.
Visiting an unsecured HTTP website can be dangerous. If you’re sharing data on an unsecured website, such as date of birth, passwords or any financial information, there is, unfortunately, no way of knowing that your private data won’t end up in the hands of a third party, whether that’s an advertiser or a hacker.
What to do instead: When visiting any website, look in the address bar for the padlock icon. If the padlock is closed or green, you are on a secure website. If it’s open or red, the website is not secure. You can also click the padlock to verify the website’s security credentials. It’s best practice to immediately leave any website that is not secured. And, never share your personal information on a webpage that is not secure.
3. Saving Your Passwords in Your Web Browser
Web browsers make life so easy. You can save your favorite websites at the click of a button, customize them to your needs using extensions and add-ons, and you can save all your usernames and passwords in one place. But as convenient as it is, saving passwords in your browser decreases your level of security and puts you at risk.
Saving all of your passwords in your web browser can allow hackers to access any of your accounts and personal information. Even web browsers that require a password or PIN to see saved passwords can be thwarted by a skilled hacker.
What to do instead: Use a password manager. These apps keep all of your passwords in one place, and good ones come with excellent security measures. Even better, many password managers are designed to suggest new passwords to you when it’s time to update your old passwords.
Protecting Yourself and Your Company Against Cyber Crime
Each of us has the responsibility of keeping ourselves and our companies safe. Do your part by creating good cyber habits for yourself, educate your employees about strong cyber processes, and don’t make it easy for unwanted visitors to attack you.