When you spend as much as one third of your life online, it’s easy to make a dumb mistake. The wrong click can trigger an unnecessary chain of events that will cost you time, money and focus.
Here are the 5 dumbest things you can do online. There’s so dumb that you’re probably not doing any them. But you might want to check just to make sure.
- Believing it can’t happen to you
I’ll admit it. I’ve fallen for quite a few of the scams that are out there. I’ve clicked on a bad attachment, once. I clicked a bad link in an email, in an IM, on a MySpace page, once. I got phished on Twitter, once. If I didn’t have Internet security software and some good luck, I would have suffered some lasting consequences or embarrassment for those mistakes. Fortunately, the only harm was being reminded how scammers and spammers will find a way to user any new communication technology. That’s a lesson I learn whenever I get cocky online and forget to think before I click.
- Use the same key for every door
61% of targeted attacks in 2010 relied on malicious PDF documents. Almost every PC user with a credit has a PDF reader on their PC, so cyber criminals are looking for was to make PDF’s profitable. So why use the most popular PDF Reader in the world if will suffer the brunt of the attacks? Why use the most popular anything? Seek out alternatives, especially when it comes to creating passwords and security questions. Make sure your password isn’t the world’s most popular password, which is “password”. Make the passwords for all of your most important accounts unique and strong. And make sure the answers to your security questions cannot be guessed by Googling you or looking at your Facebook profile.
- Ignore your browser bar
Do you check your browser bar to see what URL you are really on before you login to your Facebook, Twitter or bank accounts? Criminals can fake the look of almost website in the world. But they can’t fake the URL. Whenever you’re entering login information or buying anything, give that browser bar a check to make sure you haven’t landed on a site you don’t know or trust.
- Confuse links with your friends
Social spam exploits the trust we have for our online friends. I’m not likely to open a spam email from a stranger. But whatever my mom or wife send me catches my eye. Thus, I’m more likely to click a bad link in an email from my wife and continue the outbreak. Spam is contagious. Click the wrong link on Facebook and you could end up spamming all of your friends and you may continue spamming them until you remove the spam app from your account. Most of your friends are probably on Facebook and they all are making the same mistakes at least once. New studies show that bad links on social sites are as common as they are on porn sites. So never forget, links are not your friend. Pause before you click on a link in you Facebook News Feed. If you see a link that includes OMG! or LOL or something inappropriately sexual or shocking, copy it and check it with our free Browsing Protection.
- Expect free to be “free”
In Silicon Valley, there’s a saying: If you aren’t paying for a product, you are the product. That means Facebook’s product isn’t a set of tools that makes it easier for friends to connect. Facebook’s product is the 650 million people it can market to using the trust we all have for our friends. Gmail scans your email to deliver ads based on your intimate communication. That’s the cost of using the site. Sites that share free movies and music may also be sharing free malware. On the Internet, “free” is just another word for “Watch out!” Facebook definitely has some privacy problems. It will continually push you to share more and more without ever telling you what not to share. Sharing is their business; encouraging shyness isn’t. So always remember the mantra: never expect anyone else to protect your privacy.
Being savvy doesn’t mean being paranoid. Just know that criminals will use anything—including the trust you have for your friends and your favorite Internet companies—to trick you. So you think before you click. If you don’t have time to think, wait to click.
And just in case, make sure that your system is secure and your software is patched and protected. Our free Health Check makes that easy.