Mistakes Hackers Love

Answering Phishing Emails

The Canadian government’s Get Cyber Safe site has reported 80,000 fall for phishing scams everyday. As a result the user must be vigilant in spotting these emails. For example, they may say ‘you’ve won the lottery or you need to ‘click here’ to avoid IRS fines. They can look a number of ways and tend to sound too good to be true. If you think you have received a spam email, then delete it immediately. Most email systems has spam filters to catch these messages, but always check the sender and make sure its a trusted source. Look at the senders name and email address to see if it looks familiar.

Using A Master Password Without Two Factor Authentication

When a user have the same password for all of their online accounts, you’re making a hackers job easy. This so-called ‘daisy chaining’ can allow all of your accounts to be compromised by breaking into just one. Make sure you have multiple passwords for your various accounts. Another safe web practice is to cycle your passwords with different variations every six months or so. While it may be difficult to remember so many passwords, it will be well worth it if one accounts get compromised. It will also help you avoid the giant headache and trail of identify theft in the event an attacker gains access to all of your accounts.

Using Unknown Flash Drives

Backing up your files and your system is important, but always be careful when inserting someone else’s flash drive or USB drive into your computer. External drives can be filled with malware. All it takes is one well-placed ‘left behind’ drive to infect an entire network. The bottom line: If it’s not your device, don’t use it. Scan your device regularly for viruses and other malicious programs to make sure that you don’t infect any other machines.

Procrastinating on Software Updates

Dragging your feet on installing necessary updates (for programs like Windows, Java, Flash and Office) is a misstep that can help cybercriminals gain access. Even with solid antivirus programs in place, big security holes in popular programs can leave you vulnerable to attack. As noted by V3, for example, Microsoft recently rolled out patch MS15-081, which addresses several vulnerabilities in Office. By not downloading the update, you are missing out on the patch, and leaving your system open to an attack and potential data breach.

Using Public WiFi

Don’t ever use any public Wi-Fi network to access your personal information. These networks are often not secure, and even worse, they could be a trap. Bad guys know that users expect to see a network called “Coffee shop Wi-Fi” when they stop in at the local cafe for a hot drink, and create a tempting, malware-laden access point for anyone who’s willing to join. As soon as you join the network, you could be giving a hacker access to passwords and other personal data.