According to PEW Research Center, 93% of American adults use the internet for shopping, connecting with loved ones, reading the news, and searching for information. Yet, the accounts you create, the websites you choose, and the tactics you use can determine your financial security, reputation, and even your medical choices.
If you often don’t give your actions a second thought when scrolling through sites or apps, it is time to make things right. Protect your health, happiness, and finances by checking out these eight common online mistakes to avoid.
1. Using an Unsecured Network
Most people don’t think twice about accessing an unsecured network at an airport, coffee house, or bar. While free, public Wi-Fi, the unsecured network makes it possible for a cybercriminal to gain access to your device and he can steal your financial information, access your email, read your text messages, or corrupt your files. Moreover, criminals use these free WiFi connections to spread viruses and malware.
If you often need to use an internet hotspot, sign-up for a personal VPN account, which you must turn on when using an unsecured network. It will encrypt the connection as, at that time, your device will connect to a server, and the open WiFi networks connect to that server. This way the hackers can’t monitor your device, access your bank, buy items online, or read business-sensitive data.
2. Trusting Unreliable Sources
Almost everyone is guilty of turning to the internet when they develop various symptoms. However, not all websites are created equal, especially when it comes to medicine. While it is essential to seek qualified advice from a doctor, nurse, or another health professional for a potential problem. You must choose your health sources wisely when using the internet. Also, if you are going to recycle your Apple, only go for a trusted shop.
Inaccurate information can be more harmful than living in ignorance; that’s why you must turn to reliable and qualified physicians or nursing sources to make more informed medical decisions. For example, if a source on the internet is selling a product owned by a sponsor or manufacturer or the advice seems too good to be true, it is a visible sign of an unreliable source. Instead, you must look for an impartial and respected publication when seeking medical help, such as the CDC, WebMD, or WHO.
3. Publicizing a Vacation on Social Media
Many social media users cannot wait to share their family vacation photos from a romantic getaway. Yet, publicly announcing a trip is a big mistake, as it increases the likelihood of your home being burgled.
Even if your Facebook or Instagram profile is set to private, a seemingly trustworthy follower might be more than happy to break into your home or encourage someone else to do so. As a safety measure, post your favorite photos from the trip onto a platform once you arrive back home.
4. Taking Online Quizzes
A fun quiz about your favorite movie, fashion style, or TV show might seem harmless, but it can be a serious security threat. Because, you are enabling a website to develop a profile about you, which they can sell to a third party or use to target various advertisements.
Always keep your personal information as safe as possible by avoiding online quizzes. Moreover, don’t forget to disable third-party app access to stop companies from collecting and using your data for their benefit.
5. Posting Unprofessional Content Online
The images you post, the statuses you publish, and the messages you send, determine whether you are professional and trustworthy or not. If you aspire to climb the career ladder or secure a role at a high-profile brand, ensure you only publish professional content on social media or a personal blog.
If you project a party, or lifestyle, or publish comments that don’t reflect a brand’s values, you might be overlooked for a vacancy or upcoming promotion. To avoid this, you must be conscious when publishing personal information or pictures online. Also, you can protect your reputation and data by setting a profile to private.
6. Choosing Weak Passwords for Accounts
Most people understand the importance of creating strong passwords online. Yet, many are guilty of using easy-to-guess words or phrases for important accounts, such as their email or online banking.
National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) research found that 15% of people have used their pet’s name as a password at some point in their life. Also, 14% have used a relative’s name, 13% used a significant date, and 6% used their favorite sports team.
No doubt, the above password options make it easy for you to remember them, but also weak passwords make it easy for a cybercriminal to break into your account. Because they can scroll through your social media to discover your pet name, your mother’s maiden name, or a wedding anniversary date.
7. Obsessing Over Social Media
No doubt, social media has many benefits, such as keeping you in touch with loved ones, improving access to news, and sharing happy moments with others. Yet, the platforms also affect a person’s mood and mental health in a negative way. If you spend much of your time scrolling through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you have to struggle with various negative emotions, such as jealousy, anxiety, stress, sadness, or poor self-esteem.
Take regular breaks from one or more social media platforms to avoid the downsides of the networks. If it dents your confidence or self-worth, affects your mood, or triggers negative feelings, delete an account altogether to care for your mental health.
8. Skipping Two-Factor Authentication
Most reputable websites and apps provide users, two-factor authentication (2FA). Yet, many people avoid it, which can increase their risk of a data breach. Setting up two-factor authentication often requires a few extra steps when creating an account, but it can stop a hacker from gaining access to your information. Many well-known websites provide two-factor authentication, such as Instagram, Amazon, LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, and Snapchat.
There are many risks online that can impact your financial security, reputation, job opportunities, and even your health. By identifying the various mistakes to avoid, you can protect your data, important accounts, property, and mental or physical health.