15 bad internet habits that put your personal data at risk
Using the internet is something most of us do daily…
However, there are a number of things you are likely doing as you use the internet that could be putting your personal information at risk. Many of which you don’t even know are risky!
Here is a list of 15 bad internet habits that could be putting you and your personal information at risk.
Which of these bad habits do you need to break?
1. Assuming your antivirus software fully protects you
Many people assume that their antivirus software will prevent them from all hazards and viruses on the internet. It will not. It’s a great way to protect yourself from most threats, but it’s not invincible. You still need to take care as you search and exchange information online.
2. Using an easy-to-guess password
Using a password that is easy to guess also may be putting your personal information at risk. Don’t use easy-to-guess passwords such as 1234, abcd or your name. If you have trouble remembering more complex passwords, read this post on ensuring your passwords are safe and easy to remember.
3. Replicating the same password on multiple sites
Speaking of passwords, using the same password on multiple sites may also be putting your personal information at risk. If someone does get a hold of your password, they can then plug it into different accounts and gain access. As such, you should use different passwords for different sites.
4. Storing your credit card information
When you buy something online, the website often asks if you want to store your credit card number for faster future shopping. Avoid doing this. This allows anyone who gains access to your account the ability to use your card.
5. Disclosing too much on social media
When you use social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, avoid posting too much information. You don’t need to disclose every detail of your life – it may be putting yourself at risk.
6. Disclosing your location to services
Many websites ask if you want to use their location detection system. To help you stay safe online, avoid using these services. They allow others to see exactly where you are, when you are on the move and where you are going.
7. Checking personal information while on unsecured wireless connections
When you are in a restaurant or a store, you may use the facility’s unsecured wireless connection. When you are on these connections, they are, as the name suggests, not secure. Avoid checking your personal accounts, such as bank accounts, when you are using these connections.
8. Providing too much information on websites
When you are using websites, be careful about providing too much information. Some websites may ask for your mother’s maiden name or other personal information that allows people to potentially steal your identity. Consider keeping this information safe.
9. Failing to use private and secure browsing
When possible, you should always use a private browsing tab. This prevents cookies from being placed on your computer which can track your web browsing activity. If you cannot browse privately, delete your cookies and history when closing your computer down for the day. And if you choose not to browse privately, make sure your browser is secure!
10. Sharing devices
To help keep your personal information safe, avoid sharing devices. If you share a computer or tablet with a roommate, they may be able to access your personal information or unwillingly leak your information online.
11. Not researching apps you download
These days, people are quick to download apps that look like fun. But apps can be used to steal your personal information. If you don’t know much about the app you are downloading, research it before you install it on your phone or tablet.
12. Trusting too easily
Scammers are everywhere. They may try to be your friend on social media or entice you on online dating websites. Don’t disclose too much personal information about yourself until you really get to know someone.
13. Not regularly searching yourself online
It is highly recommended that you take the time to search your name and address online. This may help reveal whether your personal information is floating around without your knowledge.
14. Adding connections on social media you don’t know
When you use social media, you may add anyone who sends you a friend request. But making social media a popularity contest exposes you to some risk. Instead, only add people you know in real life.
15. Forgetting to check your bank account and credit reports often
Lastly, be sure to check your bank account and credit reports often. If your information has been compromised, the faster you know, the faster you can shut it down and protect yourself.
There are many different ways you may be putting your personal information at risk when you are on the internet. Making yourself aware of what these issues are and how to prevent them can help to keep you safer as you browse, shop, chat and make connections online.