According to recent studies, there are over 400,000 new pieces of malware that are discovered every day. The large number of malicious programs out there gives hackers an almost limitless opportunity to pick from, when choosing who to target. Users tend to make the same mistakes, across the board.
Below is a rundown of 8 common mistakes that beginners make and that you should avoid.
- Improper System Shutdown
With the large number of tablet and smartphone users out there, more and more people are learning how to use a computer through these devices, instead of the more conventional desktop machine. It’s for this reason why so many are unfamiliar with the proper method of shutting down their systems.
When you’ve finished with your computer, you want to save your work, close down every program, then shut it down.
- Using Unknown Flash Drives
It’s very important that you back up the files on your system, but it’s also important that you are aware of what you put into your computer. External drives can have malicious files on them, so all it will take is for you to content it to your USB port, and it can infect your computer. What you want to do is carry out a virus scan on any new device that you connect to your system, make sure you scan it thoroughly, using your internet security solution.
- Not Backing Up Your Files
One mistake that a lot of computer users make, is to not backup the files on their computer or business network. Your hard drive could fail, your system could crash, a malicious file could infiltrate your system, or your system could sustain physical damage, all of these things could result in data loss.
Backing up your files will not stop any of these situations from occurring, but in the event that they do happen, you can, without any problem, recovery any lost data – that’s why it’s so important that you back things up.
- Not Regularly Updating Your System
If your system isn’t set to automatically update, then you should be prompted from time to time to do so. Many computer users out there fail to keep their systems up-to-date. When you install the latest security patches, it ensures that your system is not only secure, but running at optimal levels.
- Buying Incompatible Hardware Components
There are so many different types of computers, whether it’s your smartphone, tablet, laptop or Chrome book, and although all of these devices are looked at as computers, they’re not all compatible with the all the hardware components available to buy.
This is most true when it comes to Apple computers versus IBM compatible machines or the Windows operating system up against Linux.
So, one thing you want to do before you purchase a hardware component for your computer is make sure it’s compatible with your computer, your operating system and your system specifications.
- Leaving Your Webcam On
Webcam hacks are more common than you think, and they can be a frightening prospect for anyone to fall prey to. There are certain types of malware that are capable of giving a hacker remote access to your computer, which they can then use to enable your webcam. Unlike other network-enabled devices, your webcam isn’t protected in the same way, so you’ll need to be able to discern for yourself, when your camera is on, and when it’s off. In other instances, you may want to go with a more drastic measure, and stick tape over it whenever you’re not using it, and since that doesn’t block its audio, you’ll always need to disable its sound too.
- Using Weak Passwords
If you use multiple passwords, all of which are not complex, then you put yourself at risk, because hackers can figure these types of passwords out, using what’s called a brute force attack method. It’s basically when a hacker uses specialised software that will attempt to guess your password. The shorter and more simple your password is, the quicker it is to hack.
- Answering Phishing Emails
Statistics puts the number at 80,000, for the number of people that fall to these phishing emails, each day. So you may want to be cognizant of that. If you’ve ever got an email stating that your PayPal account has been suspended and that you need to reconfirm certain details, by clicking on a specific link, I suggest you immediately delete that email.
Most email services have spam filters that will detect and filter out these emails, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t verify everything that gets through, because it’s not uncommon for the filter to miss something.
You want to ensure that you do not click on any links sent from users you don’t trust or go one step better, and just do not click on email links at all, instead, go to the specified sites, in the emails, by yourself.
About The Author
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.
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