Cyber security myths should be avoided so your personal information online is protected. Here’s a look at facts vs. fiction.
Macs don’t need virus protection. No one cares about my personal data. Our smartphones can’t get hacked. Unfortunately, these are just three of the many cyber security myths out there that could get you in trouble if you continue to believe them. These and more are dismantled below.
Macs Don’t Need Any Protection
One of the longest-running security myths is that Macs are more secure than Windows. Because there are more Windows-based computers in the world, hackers typically go down that route first. And yet, that doesn’t mean Macs are unscathed. Today’s viruses and malware are designed to hurt both types of computers because they are often attached to an email and just waiting for some unsuspecting recipient to make a few clicks — regardless of their device type.
Anti-Virus Software is All I Need
Great, you’ve installed anti-virus software on your computer. And yet, this doesn’t protect you from anything. For one, the program is only as good as the software update that’s currently supporting it. Besides, if you can’t remember the last time it was updated or you never converted the free anti-virus software that came with your computer to a paid subscription, you could be in trouble.
Perhaps even more frustrating: Even if your anti-virus is updated properly, cyber-attachers are always looking for vulnerabilities, and it takes only one to cause havoc. Therefore, you should always be on top of your online activities.
Mobile Devices Are More Secure Than Laptops
Due diligence is the name of the game when it comes to using smartphones and tablets. Though you’re less likely to be hit by a virus or malware on your iPhone, for example, it could still happen. Therefore, avoid opening email links from strangers and avoid unfamiliar apps.
No One Cares About Getting My Personal Data
We live in a world where every one of us is increasingly digitally connected. While technically, there are folks who have yet to connect online, you aren’t one of them. If you were, you wouldn’t be reading this article!
With that being said, even you have information crooks online want to steal. And consider this: perhaps you don’t spend a lot of time online, but you do visit a few websites to buy stuff. The personal information you hand over there can easily get shared with unscrupulous folks online through a breach or hack.
Phishing Scams are Easy to Spot
Even the smartest kids in the room can get tricked (and have) by phishing scams, which tend to get more sophisticated every year. More distressful: Some of these scams are being sent as ransom notes now with demands for cash. When in doubt, don’t click on a link in an email and if you do, be sure to run a scan with your anti-virus and anti-malware software asap.
The Sites I Visit Are Secure
Remember how hackers are more likely to go after Windows-based computers than Mac because there’s more of the former? The same logic shows that criminals rather hack the databases behind the world’s largest websites than obscure ones. In other words, the sites you probably visit aren’t necessarily any more secure than others found online.
My Social Friends Won’t Hurt Me
Do you really know all of your friends on Instagram? How about Facebook or TikTok? While much of the focus in recent years has been on protecting our kids from pedophiles online, there’s another concern that can affect any of us. Your new online friend on your favorite social network might not be who they appear to be, or they could be a bot. Both will eventually try to get personal information out of you to steal your identity. So be careful out there, and remember you can always unfriend or unfollow.
My Password Is Strong
One of the biggest ongoing security myths is that complex passwords are foolproof; they are not.
Each year, at least a few organizations come forward to announce the passwords most likely to be cracked by scammers. Unfortunately, while it’s nice to know that “123456” and the word “password” are still dangerous to use as passwords, those reports are increasingly not worth your time.
Today, savvy digital tools make it easy for scammers to discover passwords, regardless of their length or complexity. Because of this, the best course of action is to change your passwords often and avoid using the same one for different sites or networks. For this, use a password generator such as the one built into Apple devices or a third-party solution such as 1Password. You’ll be happy you did.
Also, My Password-Protected Wi-Fi is Secure
Similarly, keeping the same password for your Wi-Fi connection for years is also a weak practice to follow. Instead, change the password often and create guest accounts for visitors. Even then, it won’t necessarily be enough to protect your network.
I’ll Recognize a Fake Voice When I Hear It
Criminals aren’t just operating online. They’re also trying to steal our information through phone calls and other means. The reason is that deep fake technology is getting better at replicating both faces and voices. Because of this, don’t just listen to the voice on the other end of the phone. Instead, you should also hear what they’re saying and if it doesn’t make sense, hang up.
There’s No Malware on My Computer Right Now
This last one may or may not be true. However, if your computer or smart device doesn’t already have protection on it, the likelihood that something bad is going on is much higher. So spend some time and money to protect your devices in the future better and avoid cyber security myths. You’ll be happy you did.