By now, we’re all well aware of how dangerous the online world can be. We know not to send our card details to some Nigerian prince who turns up in our spam folder. And we know we shouldn’t leave our password written on a post-it note stuck to our laptop screen. These are obvious ways to leave yourself vulnerable online.

But some of the biggest mistakes people make are simple ones that you might not realise are important as they are. You and your staff have to be constantly on the ball. Thankfully, these easy mistakes are also very easy to fix. Let’s look at five of the most common errors and how you can change for the better.

Putting off software updates

We get it – it’s annoying when you’re busy working and that little pop-up interrupts you just to tell you it’s time to update your software or OS. You might put it off, telling yourself you’ll get to it later, but later doesn’t come until it’s too late. These software updates are crucial as they often patch up holes in the security, keeping you from being vulnerable online. Not to mention the fact it should give you new features and fix bugs.

It might feel like a pain to constantly update your software – especially if different ones are updating at different times – but it’s essential. To make it easier for you, turn on auto-updates if possible. Or make a habit of checking for updates at the end of your working day and let it do it while you go about the rest of your day.

Posting everything on social media

Social media is a fun place to share updates, talk to friends, or simply tell people what you’re eating. But over sharing can be risky. By sharing too much about your personal life, hackers can piece together your details to figure out passwords.

There are two ways to fix this. First, ensure all your passwords are secure. Don’t make it just one word; combine letters, numbers, and symbols to make it harder to crack. Second, watch what you put online. Be careful about any “fun” Facebook posts that ask you to complete a quiz about yourself or post about your life story. These details are often used in people’s passwords, so you’re just giving away free information. It seems obvious right now, but when you’re bored and scrolling through Facebook, it looks innocent enough.

Using weak passwords that you never change

When it comes to passwords, many people use obvious choices. It might be their child’s name, an anniversary, a pet, or even just a simple “password123”. 

Then they use that same password for months. It’s essential to create strong passwords that you change often. And you should never use the same password twice. If you find it impossible to remember every password, try using a password manager to keep them all in one secure place. 

Using sites that aren’t SSL certified

Have you ever noticed the little padlock at the far left of the search bar? Or maybe a URL that started with “https://”? That “s” and padlock signifies the site is SSL certified. SSL certified means you’re at a much lower risk of having your information stolen, as it’s encrypted. If you plan on making a purchase from a site, ensure that it’s SSL certified as it’s much harder to hack.

Using free public Wi-Fi

Everyone does it so it must be safe right? Not quite. Public Wi-Fi isn’t entirely secure. Any hacker could easily intercept everything your device sends or receives. Not only that, but it isn’t uncommon for cyber criminals to impersonate Wi-Fi services, tricking you into connecting to them where they can then steal your information.

The best course of action is to simply ignore it. It’s easier and safer to use your own data. Even public Wi-Fi that’s password-protected is a risk as you still don’t know who’ll be lurking on the same network.

There are so many ways we can accidentally leave ourselves vulnerable online. Without realising, it’s all too easy to give your private information away. Being aware of dangers and learning how to stay safe will help us develop better online practices and reduce risk.

Nisyst Cyber Security has been at the forefront of the UK tech scene for 30 years. We can conduct a vulnerability assessment to identify any security loopholes. Ready to protect your business? Call us now on 01204 706 000.