Failure to take cybersecurity seriously can have very real repercussions. From data leaks to information theft to bricked devices, the consequences of adopting a lackadaisical approach to cybersecurity can be far-reaching. That being the case, no one should leave their online security to chance. Fortunately, taking active measures against a growing assortment of cyber threats doesn’t have to prove challenging or financially strenuous. In your efforts to keep cyber threats at bay, avoiding the following blunders can do you a world of good.
Not Exercising Caution When Using Public Networks
It’s hard to deny that public Wi-Fi networks aren’t a good thing. After all, they provide millions of people with ready access to the web and help ensure that those who are unable to afford home internet services aren’t left out of the loop. However, when it comes to public networks, ease of access can be something of a double-edged sword. Since anyone is able to access them, these networks often serve as stomping grounds for data thieves and other cybercriminals. Furthermore, since many of the people who regularly use public Wi-Fi remain blissfully unaware of this fact, said criminals have no shortage of potential targets.
In the interest of maximum safety, you should avoid using public Wi-Fi networks whenever possible. Still, if you often find yourself with no choice but to use them, you should at least take measures to protect yourself. For starters, avoid entering passwords and financial information and sharing other sensitive data via public Wi-Fi, as this is exactly what cybercriminals are looking for. By the same token, you should avoid using public networks for work-related purposes, since doing so may result in the theft of your employer’s data. Needless to say, if you’re found to be the cause of data theft, your employer is liable to have some choice words for you. Furthermore, if you insist on using public Wi-Fi, never do so without the protection of a good virtual private network (VPN).
Not Using a Reliable VPN
As stated above, a good VPN can be a boon to your security whenever you find yourself using public Wi-Fi. However, a dependable virtual private network also stands to enhance your online security in a variety of other ways. Although VPNs have been around for quite a while, recent years have seen them rise to mainstream prominence – and for good reason. A virtual private network serves to encrypt your data and network traffic, thereby masking your network identity and essentially making it impossible for your data to be intercepted by third parties or for your online activity to be tracked. By redirecting your network traffic through a remote server, a VPN is effectively able to conceal your IP address. Needless to say, anyone who’s tired of various third parties monitoring their data and activity can benefit from using a dependable VPN.
When searching for the right virtual private network, you’re likely to find no shortage of options. Additionally, keep in mind that while some VPNs are free, enjoying maximum protection will generally require you to purchase VPN pro. Luckily, a paid VPN is affordable on even the most stringent budget, and a small annual year can provide you with lasting peace of mind.
Not Using a Dedicated Antivirus Program
These days, many operating systems are equipped with antivirus properties. While such features can certainly prove conducive to online safety, they shouldn’t be viewed as a substitute for dedicated antivirus software. Dedicated antivirus software can identify and purge a wide assortment of viruses and other cyberthreats in a timely manner – and require little to no effort on your part. So, if any of your internet-capable devices are currently bereft of antivirus software, now would be a good time to correct this oversight.
Shrugging off cybersecurity is something you do at your own risk. Refusal to regard the rising wave of cyberthreats with due importance can have serious consequences. Furthermore, considering how little effort it takes to effectively combat cyber threats, you have no excuse to regard online security as an afterthought. Additionally, by taking the time to familiarize yourself with some of the most common – and most consequential – cybersecurity blunders, you can help reduce your risk of engaging in unsafe behaviors.