7 Digital Security Mistakes to Avoid With Your Laptop
Your ability to prolong the usage of your laptop depends on the integrity of its security.
Digital security mistakes do happen, and they not only affect your computer's performance, but they can also provide access to unwelcome users who can do what they like with your device.
In this article, we'll cover seven such security mistakes and in doing so explain how to avoid them.
Keep reading to learn how to overcome common cyber threats and protect your data.
1. Outdated OS and Software
The biggest threat to the security of your laptop is outdated OS and software. Not updating the OS is one of the most common mistakes, even though companies release updates on a regular basis.
Every update comes with a set of security patches that help protect your vulnerable operating system. Not to mention, regular software updates can help protect you on the internet as you use your browser.
If you don't have automatic updates on, and you're not doing them manually, then you're in for a bad surprise. Don't prolong the issue. Search for the name of the software or OS + how to update or use a program that performs updates for you.
2. Charging Your Phone on Your Laptop
If you are one of the people who charge their phone with their laptop, this is for you. You're not the only one and this is also a common issue.
If your phone is infected with malware, which can be downloaded with a regular app, then the virus can be transferred onto your laptop by simply plugging it in.
So keep that in mind before you plug in your phone into a laptop next time...or any outlet for that matter.
3. Not Using a Password Manager
Most people think that a password manager is bad, simply because you wouldn't manage your passwords. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Not only does it help secure your online data, but it helps save so much time.
A password manager is a type of software that stores your accounts and profiles across all devices and prevents you from remembering those long and confusing passwords. Unless that's your thing.
Each password is encrypted and secured by the manager, which has a master password. Sounds great, right? But wait, it gets better.
An open-source manager can be locally stored on your device with no access to the internet. So if somebody hacks the company that hosts the manager, you are not at risk of losing your data.
Not to mention, the manager can generate long-string passwords, store them, and automatically fill them for you. This is incredibly useful if you're one of the people who use the same password everywhere.
4. No 2FA
Even if you are using a password manager and long-string passwords, you can make your security even better by setting up two-factor authentication on all of your accounts.
When it comes to 2FA, there are many types. You can use your email to receive an SSO code that you enter each time you log in, you can use your mobile device to have it locally stored and refreshed each time you want to get access, or you can get a text or call on your phone.
If you have a second layer of authentication, a hacker would also need to get your phone if they have your password. And considering most attacks are remote, they won't be able to do that.
5. Using Public Wi-Fi
We understand you have a laptop, and the primary benefit of such a device is portability. But if you're using public Wi-Fi to log into your bank accounts or other important websites, you're placing yourself under great risk.
Public Wi-Fi isn't often secure and can even be replicated by a hacker to make it look like you're accessing the internet of a coffee shop. In reality, you're being routed through their network.
If you need to use public Wi-Fi, make sure to connect to the right network, and try to avoid sharing private information so it isn't leaked. Don't log in to sensitive accounts or trade information you wouldn't otherwise.
6. Opening Phishing Emails and Clicking Links
You're on the go, you got your laptop and you're checking your emails. You got some from your bank, PayPal, IRS, Instagram, etc— all of them look legit. They say that there's a problem with your account, and you need to take action to secure your account.
Never click on those links.
Go to the site directly and log-in. If nothing pops up, you've probably been targeted by a phishing scam. These types of email and dummy websites trick unsuspecting people into providing their login information.
Always be careful and take a look at who sent the email. Most likely, you will see a very sketchy email with spelling errors or odd formatting.
7. Lack of Firewall
Some people resolve their issues with only an antivirus program, but nowadays that isn't good enough. A better way to approach laptop security is through a firewall.
As the name suggests, the software is a wall that separates your laptop from malware. If malware does get on your computer, the firewall can prevent it from accessing the internet and executing commands on your device.
However, a firewall must be updated regularly, because viruses are created every day that can overcome firewalls. Hence, you'll need various security programs on your laptop for the best results. Consider a program that blocks malware and trackers as well.
Firewalls can also be part of your hardware, plugged into your router, or attached to the cables from the phone line to the modem.
Digital Security Mistakes Resolved
With our tips, you have uncovered the seven most common digital security mistakes of a laptop user and you are well on your way to avoiding them.
Now that your computer is protected from internal dangers like viruses and malware, it's time to protect it from drops and dings. Need a secure case to protect your laptop as you travel? Check out our collection.