bad cybersecurity habits data breach

4 bad habits cybercriminals love

Thousands of new malware threats are released every day. These threats included everything from trojan horses and spyware to viruses and other malicious programs. Malware variants for mobile devices have risen 54% in the last year.

Luckily, there are many measures you can take to protect yourself and your business. You need a cybersecurity plan that includes threat prevention, network monitoring, and a data backup and recovery plan. But even the best cybersecurity plan is only as good as the people using it.

Keep your network safe from the inside out by breaking these 4 bad habits that cybercriminals love to exploit.

1. Short and simple passwords

Passwords that are short and simple may be easier to remember, but they are also easier for hackers to crack with brute-force attacks. Brute-Force attacks happen when a hacker systematically tries many different passwords and phrases until the right one is found.

Follow these tips to create better passwords:

  • Make sure your password is at least eight characters long
  • Create your password from a combination of letters, numbers and special characters
  • Use a password generator to create completely random passwords

2. Using the same password

Think about what would happen if you used the same password for a free online game as for your online banking. Chances are your bank has excellent security measures, but what about the online game? The online game is probably a lot easier to hack and once your password has been obtained, the safety of your bank account has been compromised.

Here are a few safety measures you can take:

  • Don’t use the same password over and over
  • Create completely unique passwords for accounts that contain the most sensitive and important information
  • Proactively change your password occasionally

3. Using Public WiFi

There’s no question that public WiFi is convenient, but it can also be dangerous. Connecting to an unsecured public WiFi network can leave you vulnerable to many threats, such as:

  • Man-in-the-middle attacks: A form of eavesdropping where hackers are able to intercept your data as it moves over the network from your device to the service or website you’re interacting with.
  • Unencrypted networks: Data encryption is a method of scrambling data with a secret code that only those with authorized access can decipher. Public WiFi may have encryption, but if you don’t know who set it up, you have no guarantee whether or not your data is being encrypted.
  • Malicious hotspots: These are WiFi networks masquerading as legitimate networks. Once you connect, cybercriminals are able to view and monitor your activity.

The best way to stay safe is to avoid public WiFi altogether. If you have to connect, there are ways to protect yourself such as using a VPN or avoiding websites that could reveal sensitive information (i.e., the patient portal for your doctor’s office).

4. Sharing personal information online

Chances are you create passwords based on important people or things in your life, like the names of your kids or pets, important dates, and favorite sports teams. A lot of online accounts also require answering personal questions, like your mother’s maiden name or where you were born. You may think no one could ever guess these things, but take a look at your social media accounts and you may guess differently.

This doesn’t mean you should stop sharing any and all personal information online. Keeping your social media accounts private is your first line of defense in protecting your information. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Also be aware of the information you are sharing and how you are sharing it. Posting something on your private wall is different than taking an online quiz. As much as you want to know what 80’s hair band song best summarizes your life, do you know who wrote the quiz and what they will be doing with the information they share?

In conclusion

Being aware of the bad habits listed above is a good first step to practicing better cybersecurity habits. For more help keeping your business secure, consider contacting your IT company to make sure your network is as safe as possible.