5 dangerous cybersecurity errors you are likely to make

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The FBI’s latest report on cybercrime paints a bleak picture. Last year, Americans lost more than $ 6.9 billion to cybercriminals.

Do not think you are too clever to fall for their tricks. Even knowledgeable people can be cheated for money before they realize what happened. Tap or click on five simple, effective ways to secure your smartphone.

Maybe it’s too late and you’ve noticed unexpected pop-ups or your phone gets hot when you ‘re not using it. This is how you know if a hacker or snoop is already in your smartphone.

Avoiding cybercriminals feels like a feat, but it does not have to be that complicated. Knowledge is power. I will guide you through five mistakes you may be making.

1. You think free means safe

Taking advantage of “free” Wi-Fi can cost you more than money. Public networks are unsecured and easy to hack. I’m not just talking about airports. Your local coffee shop, salon, or any place that does not password protect its network leaves you and your data vulnerable.

Because this network is open to use, packet sniffers are readily available online that capture every keystroke you enter. Think about this. Your passwords can be viewed and collected by criminals.

Use a virtual private network when you need to access the Internet and is away from a secure wireless network. A VPN uses an encrypted connection to protect against snoops.

You can also use your phone as a hotspot. Tap or click here for iPhone instructions. For steps on an Android, press or click here.

2. You skip updates

Are you notorious for putting up software updates but never actually installing them? If you frequently press the “Remind me later” button, you will be prompted for trouble. Avoid preventing your system from receiving the latest tools and security fixes needed to combat attackers and malware.

Young girl crying lonely with tears in front of her laptop late at night (iStock)

Young girl crying lonely with tears in front of her laptop late at night (iStock)

Updates are annoying when you’re in the middle of your work day, so schedule them late at night when you’re not using your computer. Tap or click here to schedule updates on your Windows PC.

3. You answer when a scammer calls

Sometimes these scam numbers are very convincing. You recognize the area code and maybe even the first few numbers, or maybe it’s your phone number. You pick up. This is when a scammer has a chance to get his claws in you.

If you see Scam Likely, or whatever expression your operator and phone screen may have, do not answer. I often hear from my national radio program listeners who like to play games with phone scammers. They lay eggs on them and pretend to be interested.

This is not too bright. You never know if that person is recording your voice for sinister purposes or even making a deepfake audio recording of you later.

Do you like what you read? Find the radio station near you that broadcasts my program. You can also get the show podcast ad-free.

4. You have a lot of old unused accounts

The more online accounts you have, the more vulnerable you are when hackers come and call. With a new breach around every corner, your usernames and passwords are not secure.

Step one is to crawl your email inbox and phone to find the accounts you no longer use. So get rid of them. It’s not always the easiest thing to do.

FILE - The icons for Facebook and WhatsApp can be seen on an iPhone in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, 15 November 2018.

FILE – The icons for Facebook and WhatsApp can be seen on an iPhone in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, 15 November 2018.
(AP Photo / Martin Meissner, File)

Some accounts are impossible to delete and some sites hide their delete links and you have to dig pretty deep to find them. Tap or click for a tool that makes it easy to find exactly where you can cancel online accounts.

It takes some time, but it’s worth it. When the unavoidable data breach is announced from a site you once used, you’ll be glad you did.

5. You click on accept

When was the last time you read the terms and conditions of a website or service? You are not alone. This probably means that you allow companies to collect your private data.

I do not suggest that you read every word because I know it is not realistic. But there is a smart way to control a few things.

The next time you come across a privacy policy, a terms and conditions page, or a lengthy service agreement, use a keyboard shortcut to search for specific words.

  • On a Windows PC, use Control + F.
  • On a Mac, use Command + F.

Now enter terms like “third party”, “GPS”, “tracking” and “data”. You get a quick look at how your information is being used.

A woman in front of a computer.

A woman in front of a computer.

Bonus tip: Wi-Fi on the moon, Russian cyber attacks and a Google tip to save gas money

Did you know that Wi-Fi is coming to the moon? Yes really. In this episode of Kim Komando Explains I will teach you how to find an airplane seat with the most legroom, save gasoline and a few other technical tips you will use time and time again. I also have an action plan you can use to protect yourself from Russian cyber attacks.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotifyor your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you now get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Command.”

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s National Radio Program and press or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or click or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2022, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved. By clicking on the purchase links you support my research. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products I believe in.

Learn about all the latest technology at The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim accepts calls and advises on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. Visit her website at Komando.com for her daily tips, free newsletters and more.

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