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20 Bad Internet Behaviors – and How to Fix Them

We’ve all done it. Bad internet behavior. Clicking on ‘Agree’ without reading the terms (and installing some great malware). Checking sensitive information while using free public wi-fi. Downloaded files from suspicious websites. Don’t feel bad. You’re not alone.

Here are some of the most common bad internet behaviors—and tips on how you can avoid doing it.

1. You use the same password for everything

This is easy. Don’t use the same password for all your websites. If a hacker gets your information from a site with weaker protection, they will have access to your most important information. Use a password manager to help you remember all your unique passwords.

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2. Antivirus not up-to-date

Another easy one. Just let your important apps and antivirus/antimalware programs automatically update. That way, you don’t need to keep doing it yourself. Nonetheless, check regularly to make sure it’s up to date.

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3. Hundreds of browser extensions

Extensions are great, sure, but do you really need many? The more extensions and plugins you have in your browser, the more potential security vulnerabilities you are bound to experience. Not only are some extensions prone to clashing with one another, but you are also at risk of installing look-a-like malware of tracking extensions Cut them down to only the ones you use daily and delete the rest.

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4. No two-step verification

Remember the celebrity leak? Yeah, that happened because of a lack of appropriate security, like two-step verification. It makes it much more difficult for hackers to get into your private files and emails.

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5. No lock screen protection

If you don’t lock your screen, anyone can install malware or spyware on your phone. Always use some sort of protection, whether a pattern, pin or password. If possible, enable remote location and wiping, so that if someone nabs your phone, you can erase all your private information remotely.

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6. No computer password

People store much more private and sensitive information on their computers than anywhere else. Don’t make it easy for someone to install spyware or steal your private information. Put a password on your computer and lock it when you leave—even for a few minutes.

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7. No antivirus and anti-malware – bad idea

This is basic, but some people still don’t have appropriate antivirus installed on their computers. Don’t be like them. Install an antivirus, and keep it updated. Even better, install anti-malware as well for an extra layer of protection.

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8. Writing down or texting passwords

If you go through the trouble of getting a strong password, and then you write it down and put it near the computer, you’re essentially defeating the purpose. Don’t write it down, just remember it. Even better, use a password manager to help you remember all your unique passwords.

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9. Clicking on links in strange emails

A lot of hacking and malware gets done because people trust emails they receive from random strangers. This is known as phishing, and it happens to many people. It allows hackers to steal your financial information and other private information. If you don’t know or trust the source, don’t click the link.

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10. Downloading all attachments

While we’re at it—don’t download any sketchy attachments either. If you don’t know or trust the source, just don’t download anything from them. This is especially true if you’re at work, as hackers can gain access to your company’s sensitive files.

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11. Don’t use HTTP sites

HTTPS offers added security for encrypting information between a visitor and a website. If you don’t browse websites that use HTTPS, you’re leaving your communications unprotected.

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12. Check your bank account on public wifi

Public wifi is great; however, it does leave you open to man-in-the-middle attacks, and other nefarious ways for hackers and snoopers to get your information. When on public wifi, don’t check any sensitive information. Even better, get a VPN service, like NordVPN, which provides a layer of protection to keep your communications safe.

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13. Clicking on popups

When you are visiting certain websites, you may get scary pop ups that claim to have found malware or viruses on your computer. Don’t click on those pop ups. In fact, don’t click on any pop ups, as they will more often than not install malware or adware.

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14. Your password is “password1” or “12345678”

You know this without anyone having to say it. You need stronger passwords. No matter how many times we are told to have stronger passwords, the most common passwords are still “password” and “123456”. Don’t do that. Get a strong password and keep it private.

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15. Download pirated files from sketchy sites

This usually happens when you’re trying to download something for free which isn’t usually free. Be very careful when you’re involved in that kind of behavior. Although the best advice is to not be involved in that kind of behavior at all.

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16. Weak wifi password

If you don’t have a strong password on your wifi network, one that is not WPA2-secured nor complex, you may be susceptible to easy hacking. If they hack your network, they can snoop on you and collect your private information. A password that is complex can protect your private wifi network. If you do not want to use tools for password management, use passphrase to remember your password with ease. You can use initials of a saying or a song that you are familiar to. For instance: “I care about my privacy. My VPN provider is NordVPN” phrase could be converted to a very strong password “1c4mp.MVpiN”

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17. Agree to all terms on software install

When you click-through to install your newest software, you may be allowing the software to do anything. Collecting information about you, installing Trojans, viruses, malicious adware, and much, much more. No one is expecting you to read the entire EULA, but be slower in clicking Agree so that you can actually see what you’re installing.

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18. Dismissed privacy concerns, thinking you were just ‘Paranoid’

There are several security and surveillance threats which we often think are just kuckoo talk. However, even former NSA staff confirming that webcams are very easy to hack – securing them might not be such a bad idea.

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19. Thinking your Mobile is inherently secure

Your phone is like your diary. We store sensitive information, engage in sensitive communications, browse things we wouldn’t want others to know, stream videos and more. Securing your mobile internet traffic should be your number one priority after getting a phone.

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20. Not using a VPN when using a public hotspot

Free Wifi is great, we all love the convenience and even make certain lodging or eating choices based on wifi availability at an establishment. One thing we tend to forget is that those wifi hotspots are unsecured, can be easily hacked, or spoofed by a hacker, in both cases – the bad guys getting access to your internet enabled device and your private data. Solution? A VPN service. Services like NordVPN are easy to use and can be set up on 6 devices under one account, with no bandwidth limit.

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