Over the last few blog posts, we’ve suggested several tips to keep you and your machine safe. Actually, the machines are ok; we’re the problem. Computers, when programmed correctly, don’t make mistakes. That’s what humans are for. We click the pop-up. We sign in to the fake social media site. We ignore the update notifications. Today, I want to talk about common sense.
Be careful on social media. If you’re not working, heck even when you are working, you’re on social media channels. Everybody’s addicted, and there’s plenty of research out there saying why. It’s nice to see your friends and family sharing their cute kid/cute cat pics, and the mental break is a much-needed escape. But, be safe. Always be skeptical of anything you see on social media. You probably didn’t win a prize, so you shouldn’t click to find out, and you definitely shouldn’t allow that Bingo game access to your Facebook account. Scroll, like, comment, share, but avoid anything on social media that redirects you to another site or asks for login information. That’s how you end up seeing your picture on a bot account.
Don’t share personal information. Even if you’re chatting with a trusted friend, don’t hand out personal information, like passwords or PINs or account numbers. Your friend probably won’t steal your login info, but someone may be watching traffic on your network. This may seem paranoid, but eavesdropping on a network with low security is a piece of cake and happens more often than you’d think. On a public network, keep the private information limited, for sure. No online banking at Starbucks!
Just think twice. It may be a cliché, but it’s great advice. Think twice before you do anything online. Your virtual security is just as important as physical security these days, and there’s no excuse for making mistakes that end up costing you (or people you care about) time and money. Opening an email that says you’ve won a free trip to Paris in a contest you never entered on a network that handles important corporate data just isn’t wise (in other words, it’s pretty stupid).
Digital security isn’t as complex as it used to be. But, now that everyone and everything is online, it’s more important than ever. Trust your gut. Don’t hand out information. Hesitate. Millions of dollars worth of security can’t keep a human who’s not really thinking from letting the bad guys in. Don’t make the mistake. Use common sense. Stay vigilant!