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Top 7 Computer Security Mistakes People Make

Without the proper knowledge, you potentially put your system at risk to the litany of cyber-attacks out there.

How much time do you spend online? Most people are not aware of how much time they actually spend on the internet. There was a study conducted in the UK that found that the average citizen spent around five hours a day on the internet, not including the time they spent while at work. It also found that people aged between 16 and 24 spent over 2,000 hours every year on Instagram alone.

The reality is, as time progresses, more and more of our lives is shifting over to the cloud. We do just about everything online, whether it’s stream video content, shop, access out bank accounts, speak to friends and family, share photos and files, track our daily fitness journey or speak to a medical professional through hundreds of different apps designed for these tasks. We do all of these from a handful of devices, such as are mobile phones, tablets, wearable gadgets and PCs.

All of these different things have their own security implications. As they all require username and passwords, so ways of keeping track of all this data is a must. Some people look to minimise the complications of it all, by simply using the same passwords over and over – which only makes their security situation more vulnerable. Other users may decide to just ignore the security warnings altogether.

Below are 7 computer mistakes you do not want to make

  1. Reusing Weak Passwords

Of the many common security mistakes, reusing weak passwords has to be amongst the top. A weak password is comprised of only a few letters, making it easy to either crack or guess. Once a hacker guesses right, they’ll proceed to use the same username and password across many platforms.

Any password that you use should be long, unique and complex. You should also use a password manager to keep track of everything.

  1. Writing Your Passwords Down

This is another common one – many users love to write their password down on a sticky note and position it near their computer – which defeats the purpose totally. A lot more people have their passwords written down somewhere than you’d think. Which is definitely understandable, when you consider how complex a password needs to be, if you don’t want someone easily guessing it. However, that doesn’t mean it is okay to do.

One way of getting around this is to use seamless sign-ins. Which means, you sign in the once, from which, you can access all other accounts. Using a passphrase is also encouraged, as they are easy to remember, and much more relevant than using randomised numbers and letters.

Having a policy designed to curtail the use of common passwords will also help to mitigate risk. Enabling self-service password reset is another consideration, as it will make it easier to reset a password in the event that it’s compromised.

  1. Falling Victim to Phishing Scams

Phishing is something that’s been around for a considerable length of time, but is also continuing to rise. Over time, they have become more complex, making it difficult to detect. For this reason it’s important that the end user has at least some understanding of what he/she is up against.

To protect yourself from these scams, you’ll need the correct security measures in place. The first thing you can do is stop or block malicious attachments in your emails. If you’re a company, then you don’t want them getting to your employees email boxes. You also want to have a security policy in place that limits email spread, in the event that a phishing email is able to get through.

Another thing you should do is train either yourself or employees in phishing scams – what they are and how to detect them.

  1. Leaving Webcam On

Webcam hacks are very common and are a serious violation of one’s privacy. There is malware that a user can put on your system, which will grant them remote access to your system, which in turn will allow them to enable your webcam. The camera on your computer or laptop doesn’t have the same security protections like other network related hardware devices. For you, you will need to learn how to tell when your web cam is on or off. You can also consider putting a piece of tape on it, when you’re not using it then taking it off, when you are.

  1. Using Work Devices for Personal Use

With this new era of remote (and in some instances hybrid) working, it has led to people spending more time logged onto the internet. The unfortunate reality is that it has led to more and more people using their corporate devices for personal use, whether it be streaming content, downloads, shopping or even gaming. This effectively puts the employer at risk, potentially harming the company, especially if malware is able to get onto the computer, granting a hacker access to an entire corporate network.

To minimise this risk, users should consider separating their work from play, by using their corporate machine exclusively for work. Your own personal laptop, smartphone or PC should be used for all the fun stuff.

  1. Not Using Internet Security Software

Most computer owners appreciate the security that the best internet protection software brings. But a surprising low number of end users actually take the time to download and install such software. This inevitably leaves your mobiles, laptops and PCs vulnerable to hidden malware when they visit certain websites.

Our lives online have become almost equally as important to the lives we live in the real world. For this reason, we should seek to protect it. You should therefore go out and find reputable security software you can install on your system.

  1. Not Updating or Restarting Your System

It’s very important that you turn your system off from time to time. This could be for a multitude of reasons. Such as security updates – most of them require at least a system restart to fully initiate. You also have software updates, restarting and sometimes powering your system down are required to carry out such an update.

Also, when it comes to performance related issues – in most cases the recommendation will be to turn your system off for several seconds, then power it back on. Restarting also clears your RAM, which frees up resources for other tasks.

So what can you do to fix it? Well, there are group policies that can be set to automatically carry out updates after a reboot. This ensures computer systems are kept up to date.


Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website <a href=””></a>.

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