Debunking 5 costly and common cyber security myths

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Hackers around the world are trying non-stop to steal confidential information and commit identity theft. Or if that is too much effort, they head to the dark web to sell compromised credentials. Of course, you know this already, because every other headline in the tech world seems to be about yet another data breach.

But what you may not know is just how shockingly insecure your internet connection is at the moment —not because you are reckless or irresponsible, but because like millions of other people around the world (it could actually be billions at this point), you have fallen for one, some, or all of these cybersecurity myths:

Myth: A wi-fi network at a store or coffee shop must be secure if it requires a password.

Truth: Not necessarily. Other people with the password can potentially snoop on you. Even worse, hackers may have created a false wi-fi network to track your every move online. If you need to use public wi-fi (and most people do), then protect yourself with a good VPN.

Myth: A good antivirus program will keep you safe.

Truth:  While a good antivirus program is obviously important, it is not enough to keep you 100 percent safe. To protect yourself, regularly back your data up — preferably to an external drive that is not connected to your computer. This is especially important if you are hit with ransomware.

Myth: You will immediately know if your computer is infected with malware.

Truth: Malware can persist on your computer for days, weeks, months or even years before being detected. Protect yourself by making sure that your operating system and apps are regularly updated with the latest security patches.

Myth: If you have a strong, hard-to-guess password then you are safe.

Truth: Yes, having a complex password of at least 10 characters is a good idea. And having a passphrase is even better — for example, “I really love lessons at Manchester Music Violin Shop!” However, experts recommend using two-factor authentication (2FA) to enhance your security online.

The Bottom Line

Technology has made it easier than ever to head online and do everything from getting work done, to watching your favorite TV shows or chatting with friends. However, make no mistake: hackers are out there and looking for ways to steal data. By steering clear of the myths noted above, you will go a long way towards being a happy netizen — instead of an unhappy hacking victim.

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