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Are you making these five dangerous cybersecurity mistakes?

According to the most recent Internet Cybercrime Report from the FBI, Americans lost upwards of $6.9 billion to cyber criminals in 2021. Even the savviest, most educated individuals can be conned out of money by today’s creative and convincing cybercrooks.

There are five common cybersecurity mistakes that can make it dangerously easy for cyber criminals to take advantage of you. Are you making them?

  1. Delaying or ignoring updates 
    Do you reschedule software updates but never actually install them? Continually hitting the “remind me later” button is asking for trouble. Software updates include new tools and important security patches that are crucial for keeping cyber criminals and malware at bay. 
  2. Not deleting old or inactive accounts
    The more online accounts you have, the more vulnerable you are to hackers. Every day, a new breach threatens your usernames and passwords. It may take some time, but it’s important to find all of the accounts you aren’t using anymore and delete them.
  3. Answering your phone when scammers call
    If you do not recognize the phone number or the “potential spam” messaging pops up, do not answer the phone. Answering the phone gives scammers a chance to trick you, obtain sensitive information or at the bare minimum verify who you are and that the phone number is legitimate.
  4. Using free Wi-Fi 
    Public Wi-Fi networks that do not require a password are unsecured and can be very easy to hack. This can mean someone being able to capture your keystrokes and therefore passwords and sensitive informationAirports, coffee shops, and salons are popular places with potentially risky internet offerings.
  5. Just clicking agree
    When you agree to the terms and conditions of a website, product, or service, you are probably giving permission to the associated company to collect your personal data. While it might not always be an option to forgo agreeing, it’s important to just be aware of which companies could be collecting your data and that there is always the risk of a data breach.

Realizing you are making these mistakes is going a step beyond just understanding cybersecurity buzzwords and terminology, and taking the first step toward better personal cybersecurity. If you have a digital presence, you are encouraged to always install updates as soon as they’re available, work hard to get rid of unused accounts, and never answer phone calls from scammers. It’s also important to remember that using public Wi-Fi and always clicking agree to terms and conditions comes with caring degrees of cybersecurity risk.

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