Navigating the online landscape is more complicated than ever. With new social media platforms cropping up all the time, plus existing ones that are expanding and changing, it’s often difficult to keep up. Chances are you’re making some common and easily avoidable mistakes that compromise your privacy and security online.
5. Reusing Passwords Invites Hackers to Multiple Accounts
Between your social media, online banking, email, work and other accounts, you probably grow tired of creating new passwords every time you log on. Couple password prevalence with the requirement that you include a number, symbol, and/or capital letters in every password, and that’s a lot of characters to memorize. Most people try to reduce the memorization and reuse passwords for multiple accounts; believe it or not, some people use the same password for all their accounts. The problem with reusing passwords is that when a hacker gains entry to one of your accounts, they can get into all accounts using that same password.
4. Location, Location, Location: Don’t Advertise You’re Not Home
Amid news reports of people becoming victims of burglary because criminals knew they would be out of town, most social media platforms advise against posting your location, whether you’re in town or on vacation. Posting where you’re at may be great for meeting up with friends, but it’s not so great if local criminals can see that you’re not home and you’ve left your belongings unattended.
3. Staying Logged In Leaves Your Account Vulnerable
Staying logged in is convenient, but it’s also a security hazard. Not only can people hop on the computer after you and see your information, but hackers can also use an open login to gain entry to the rest of your computer or phone system. Unauthorized access could lead to a virus or multiple compromised accounts, if not a complete shutdown of your device. Plus, remote hackers who gain entry to your computer via your IP address or other means can then take over your computer and continue in your account wherever you left off. This is more common than you think.
2. Third-Party Invites: Are They Really Worth it?
Every time you log into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other accounts, third-party apps offer to link up with you. In some cases, you may want this, because third-party logins make it easier for you to access other services with one login.
However, third-party apps often pull more of your information for their own purposes, beyond what is necessary to log you in. Often, third-party apps collect your details to craft ads targeting you, but sometimes they sell information to other parties. Check your connections carefully to make sure that only the apps you want to use can access your information.
1. Using Public Wi-Fi: Hackers Can Easily Intercept Your Info
From coffee shops to supermarkets, many companies offer some form of free Wi-Fi these days. Unfortunately, these networks are often unsecured and leave your private data vulnerable for hackers to intercept. When using these types of networks, you should avoid accessing any sensitive information such as bank accounts or making any form of online payments. That said, if you find it absolutely necessary, consider investing in a cheap VPN to secure your private data.
One More: Sharing Too Much Information
It’s great that you want to share selfies plus photos of your pets, meals, and vacations, but sharing too much can prove dangerous for your online security. The more you share, the more your online audience knows about you. The drawback to oversharing is that hackers or other unsavory types can use your information to get into your sensitive accounts and mess with your privacy.
Bill Hess is the owner PixelPrivacy.com a website all about making the world of online security accessible to everyone. We pride ourselves in writing guides that we’re certain even our own mothers could understand! Be sure to head over to our blog if you’re interested in keeping your private information just that: Private!