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Don’t Fall Victim To Hacking: Common Mistakes People Fall For , How Your Lack of Cybersecurity Awareness Is A Breach Waiting to Happen

May 2024 by Oliver Page, CEO of Cybernut

The risk of falling victim to hacking attacks is a reality for people all over the world, particularly with the number of active internet users growing so rapidly. People are making the same mistakes time and time again, leaving them inadvertently exposed to cyber threats.

Oliver Page, the CEO of cybersecurity company Cybernut, aims to ensure you aren’t a hacker’s next victim by sharing the most common mistakes and tips for best practices.
Weak Passwords

Many individuals compromise their online security by using easily guessable passwords such as "password" or "123456" and reusing the same password across multiple accounts. In fact, more than 80% of breaches are related to weak or reused passwords. This practice leaves them vulnerable to hacking and cyber threats, as it provides attackers with a straightforward path to gaining unauthorized access to their accounts.

Oliver Page says, ‘Additionally, failing to use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols further weakens password strength, making it easier for malicious actors to exploit vulnerabilities and compromise personal information.’

Oliver Page’s Tip: Generate strong, unique passwords for each account using a password manager. Ensure you update your passwords regularly and avoid common patterns or phrases.

Clicking On Suspicious Links

Another common pitfall is clicking on suspicious links. Whether through email attachments or links from unknown sources, individuals often fail to exercise caution, falling victim to phishing emails or malicious websites. These deceptive tactics mimic legitimate organizations, urging immediate action and leading unsuspecting users into a trap.

Oliver Page’s Tip: Learn to recognize phishing attempts by checking email sender addresses, verifying website URLs, and scrutinizing email content for signs of manipulation.
Neglecting Software Updates

Neglecting software updates is yet another error that can have dire consequences. Ignoring notifications for updates on operating systems, software, and applications leaves known vulnerabilities open, providing hackers easy access to exploit systems. As a matter of fact, incomplete software updates are directly responsible for 60% of all data breaches. Despite the inconvenience or fear of system setting changes, timely updates are crucial for maintaining a secure digital environment.

Oliver Page’s Tip: Enable automatic updates for operating systems and applications to ensure timely installation of security patches. If automated updates are not enabled, regularly check for updates manually.

Ignoring Two-Factor Authentication

Many individuals disregard the importance of enabling Two-Factor Authentication. Oliver Page says, ‘Despite being available on various platforms, some users opt not to use Two-Factor Authentication, underestimating its role in enhancing account security. This additional layer of protection can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to accounts.’

Oliver Page’s Tip: Activate Two-Factor Authentication wherever available, using methods such as SMS codes, authenticator apps, or hardware tokens for added security.
Falling For Social Engineering Tactics

A shocking 98% of cyber-attacks are attributed to social engineering tactics. Social engineering tactics are manipulative techniques used to exploit human psychology and trick individuals into revealing confidential information, providing unauthorized access, or performing actions against their own interests. Examples include phishing emails, creating a false pretext to obtain information, and using a false promise to entice individuals to divulge information.

Falling for social engineering tactics, like responding to unsolicited emails requesting sensitive information, can result in account compromise and identity theft. These phishing attempts often mimic legitimate entities, deceiving individuals into divulging confidential details.

Similarly, trusting phone calls or messages without verification can lead to serious consequences, as scammers manipulate victims into disclosing sensitive information or taking actions that compromise their security.

Oliver Page’s Tip: Keep yourself up-to-date with cybersecurity news, trends, and best practices through reputable sources, forums, and professional networks. Participate in cybersecurity awareness training programs to enhance your knowledge and awareness of potential threats and protective measures.

Sharing Too Much Information

Oversharing personal information on social media platforms poses a significant risk. Posting your details, like your full name, birthdate, address, and phone number, provides more than sufficient material for social engineering attacks.

Oliver Page’s Tip: Be cautious about sharing personal information online and adjust your privacy settings to restrict access to sensitive data.

Using Unsecured Networks

Oliver Page explains, ‘Using unsecured networks, such as public Wi-Fi without a VPN, exposes individuals to the interception of their data by malicious hackers.’ Four in 10 people have had their information compromised from using public Wi-Fi. This risk is amplified when transferring sensitive information over these connections, potentially leading to data breaches and compromised security. Hackers can easily exploit transmitted data without encryption, compromising your personal and financial information.

Oliver Page’s Tip: Connect to encrypted networks, such as VPNs, especially when accessing sensitive data or conducting financial transactions.

Oliver Page concludes, ‘Prevention is the best defense against cyber attacks. By avoiding common pitfalls and embracing proactive security measures, we shield ourselves from the vulnerabilities that hackers exploit.’

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