Laptops can be a big investment and they can be crucial to your work and entertainment needs. You want to make sure that your laptop is safe and protected against any potential security threats.
People make a lot of careless mistakes in security for their devices that supposedly mean so much to them.
Your computer can be ruined through this carelessness, or you can end up exposing a lot of private information to hackers or cybercriminals.
Protecting personal information is more important than many people think. Vigilance and preparation are key.
If you’re worried that you’re not paying enough attention to your computer safety, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn a few common security mistakes that people make with their laptops.
1. Using Weak Passwords
Is your password something along the lines of your first or last name and your birthdate? What about something like “password” or a chronological set of numbers?
These are common password formats and they’re easy to crack if someone is so inclined. Having safe passwords is important but too many people focus on things that are easy to remember instead of hard to crack.
What you really need to do is focus on both.
You could use a password randomizer online, but are those really safe? And if something’s too complicated do you put yourself more at risk by saving it in a note or writing it down somewhere?
Mixing the ability to remember a password with making it difficult or complicated enough to challenge hackers is key.
Follow a few best practices for password safety and protect your online accounts.
2. Using the Same Password Across Accounts
Once you have a good password, you can use it anywhere right? It’s hard to remember so you only want to remember one difficult thing. Is there any actual harm that can come from that?
Let’s say you made the perfect password that you feel is impenetrable. In reality, if someone is determined enough, they can probably still get into your information. It will just take a while.
Once they have it, it’s easy for them to access your other accounts if you’ve been using the same password over and over.
While having multiple complicated passwords is annoying, it’s best to keep things different across accounts.
3. Clicking Questionable Links
When you get a link that you’re not expecting, do you click on it?
Maybe you get a message from a Facebook friend telling you about a product that you’ll love, or saying that they’ve found your picture on a revenge site or a catfish profile.
Is this something that your friend would typically do? If not, leave it alone. It’s possible that your friend’s account has already been infiltrated. Send them a message from another website or messaging system and ask about the link.
If it was really them, you might end up a little embarrassed but your friend will understand if you explain.
This same logic goes for emails. If someone sends you a link that you weren’t expecting, whether they’re a stranger or a colleague you should ignore it.
4. Falling for Housing Scams
On sites like Craigslist, there are housing scams all the time. Does something look too good to be true? It probably is.
These scammers post across boards in different cities offering rental housing for a rent that’s under the general asking price.
These can be easy to pick up once you recognize the signs.
If there’s only one picture and it’s of the outside, consider image-searching the picture to see if it’s even in your area. Often, these homes are in different cities entirely or they’re stolen from a real-estate website. Also, see if they offer a tour of the home without an exchange of information.
These scammers will often have links (remember the questionable links?) to random websites that will ask for your private information or email addresses (generally written in a way that won’t allow Craigslist to notice them) where they will do the same.
This is a lesser-known scam that preys on desperate people. Be aware.
5. Not Updating Your Software
How often do you see that little popup in the corner of your screen asking if you’d like to update?
How often do you press the “remind me tomorrow” button?
I think we can all relate to this. Updating takes time and you often have to restart your laptop to do so. Some of us never turn our laptops off! It’s too time-consuming to find all of those tabs and open all of those programs again, right?
The time it takes to download regular software updates is worth it.
Not only can it help improve your laptop experience, speed up Mac and Windows systems, and give you new features, it can also help with your security.
Updates happen when developers notice new security threats (among other things). They might add new protections that can help keep you safe with no effort on your part.
6. Carelessly Downloading Anything
The link clicking is bad enough, but careless downloads can be even worse.
Many of us are used to downloading anything that we want online. Sometimes they’re mods for games or things like books and music.
We automatically assume these things are safe. Why wouldn’t they be?
Always vet your downloads before you choose to download them. Read reviews and try to determine how reliable the website as a whole is.
Some downloads might give you the thing that you want while also infecting your computer with a virus. Some won’t give you what you were looking for at all.
No matter what file type you’re downloading, do your research first.
Are You Making These Mistakes in Security?
A lot of people end up making these mistakes in security for their laptops without even thinking twice.
We’re too used to the facade of safety and it leaves us vulnerable to attacks.
Avoid many of these problems by following best practices and investing in a reliable antivirus system to keep you covered.
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