10 Online Security Myths
Jul 12th, 2012 | By Tim George | Category: Online, Privacy, Top Headline | Print This Article
When it comes to online security, you can get in more trouble by believing things that just aren’t true. Here are the truths behind some common online-security myths that may be influencing your online security practices. If you know the truth, you can make better decisions about protecting yourself online. Here are some myths many people believe about online security.
My Password Is Secure
The truth is that the majority of passwords are far weaker than we think they are. For example, obscure long dictionary words are not good passwords. In fact, passwords shouldn’t be regular words at all. A passphrase with some special characters is by far the best—for example, instead of “kittens,” use “k1tt3n$.”
It’s Okay To Use A Single Secure Password For Different Accounts
You should never share passwords between accounts in different organizations. In other words, you don’t want your password for your bank account to be the same as your password for your Gmail account, your Twitter account, or your Facebook account. If a password is exposed on one account, then all your accounts are potentially exposed.
An Anti-Virus Solution Eliminates All My Worries
An anti-virus tool does not protect you from everything. No software program can prevent someone from doing dumb things like clicking on a suspicious link in an email or providing a bank account number to someone you don’t really know.
Mac Users Are Immune From Such Attacks
While it is true that there are currently less viruses targeting Mac users, more people are using Macs and iPhones these days, and as a result, we are already seeing malware that targets Macs.
Facebook And Twitter Friend’s Links Can Be Trusted
Because of the popularity of Facebook and Twitter, the same bad guys who have been sending spam via email and perpetrating online scams are now targeting social networks. These people have ways to post messages that look like they are from your friends but really aren’t.
A Locked Padlock Displayed On My Browser Means A Website Is Secure
Not all browsers use the locked-padlock symbol. Not only that, but cybercriminals are quite adept at reproducing it.
An Email From Someone I Know Is Always Okay To Respond To
If you get an email from a friend or relative saying something like, “I’m in Paris, and I was robbed. I can’t get home—please wire me money,” don’t fall for it. The likelihood of that is so small; you should try to contact that friend directly. Their account could have been compromised. Try to contact them, but not through their email account.
Authentic-Looking Email Can Be Trusted
Consider the context of an email and what it’s asking you. This can be hard, although sometimes the bad guys are comically inept. You have to ask if it makes sense for this person or business to be asking you for this information. Scammers tend to make their phishing expeditions time-sensitive. They often come just before Christmas or April 15th for good reason.
You Should Respond To The Scammer To Tell Them To Stop
If you respond and ask a spammer to remove you from his list, you’ll probably get more spam. Mark them as spam and forget them.
Viewing An Email Message Without Clicking On Any Attachments Or Links Is Safe
If you think an email is probably spam or a scam, don’t open it! There are ways an attacker can launch an email attack that doesn’t require you to click on a link—ways that can be just as dangerous as clicking on an infected attachment.
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