Cybercrime such as ransomware attacks, viruses, scams, theft, email phishing, impersonation, and hacking is increasingly common. The general lack of care and attention towards cyber-security in the online community is owed to several pre-existing myths about online safety.
Here are 5 such misconceptions about cyber-security.
1. Antivirus and Cyber-Security Software is Good Enough
There’s a lot that can go wrong here. Although most people feel at ease after installing security software, they’re not nearly air-tight in reality. The servers of such security software providers are vulnerable to hacking attacks, rendering the clients’ defenses useless.
The kind of cyber-security software you choose is also important. It’s easy to select an antivirus at random and live to regret it later. Always go with reliable providers with stronger safeguards. Some great ones might charge a buck or two, but curtailing costs here might cost you big-time in the future.
2. Complex Passwords Cannot Be Cracked
Passwords are becoming really easy to breach for hackers. Special programs are capable of cracking the longest and most confusing passwords by trying billions of different combinations in the space of seconds. Password trends can also be further replicated to breach your security in multiple online avenues, e.g., having a password for a social media site and using the same one for your email account.
Temporary passwords, OTPs, and two-factor authentication are a way to reduce the risk.
3. My Data Isn’t Worth Anything
That is not true. If it were, social media would never be free to begin with. If a service such as that is free, it monetizes your data instead, selling it to advertisers as an entire ‘customer’ profile.
Data can be materialized for crime, such as theft, impersonation, and physical harm. If it’s valuable for some, it’s valuable for many.
4. Scams and Phishing Are Glaringly Obvious
Phishing schemes and scams are getting more and more intelligent and convincing. Some pretend to withhold your sensitive information via webcam and threaten to release it. Others masquerade as services that you are currently subscribed to and give ‘reminders’ about privacy settings updates.
The data they used to reach you, such as the email address and password, has probably been breached. Some hackers even manage to breach the social media accounts of people you know and use your trust in them against you by sending links to malicious content.
5. Mainstream Websites Are Safe to Visit
All of the big websites employ cookies to track your internet trajectory. Despite the onsite safety, these companies that own the sites possess your data. If any of these companies are hacked, your data is breached too. Consequently, your data isn’t as safe with big websites either.
Using a VPN, reliable cyber-security software, or an adblocker are some quick ways to boost online safety. The rest is up to you. The more vigilant and careful you are, the safer you’ll really be.