Insurance Insights

5 Things Cybersecurity Experts Would Never Do


March 10th, 2017

You already know you shouldn’t share your password with a stranger, but cybersecurity experts say there are other routine tasks you may be carrying out — including using your debit card online or downloading free apps to your phone – that could seriously jeopardize your online security.

From avoiding downloading email attachments to disabling geo-tagging, you may be leaving yourself wide open to hackers. Below are some simple steps can you take to protect yourself online.

1. Never use your debit card for online shopping

Online retailers are increasingly offering customers a chance to use their debit card to pay for transactions, making life easier for those who don’t have credit cards or for those who don’t want to add to their credit debt.  Even PayPal now has an option for users to add their debit cards to their accounts.
Credit cards are much safer because of the fraud and identity theft investigations and protections designed around credit cards.  If you only want to spend money you have on hand, cash is king.

2. Never download an app before reading the privacy permissions
When downloading an app, many will skim through the permissions it asks to be granted – such as accessing your contacts or your location.  Experts suggest reading the privacy permissions and doing some research on the apps’ creator before you download it.
Free apps are particularly troublesome for wanting to control your phone’s contents. Many apps also don’t list where all the information they gather from your devices is stored and can be essentially giving up all of our rights to in order to play these games.
Instead, research the apps you download and avoid those that wants to oversee a large amount of your phone’s content.

3. Never download email attachments
It may sound like a hassle, but try to avoid downloading an email attachment.  Instead, consider using a third party program such as Dropbox – a secure file hosting service – allows you to scan all incoming attachments and ensure you’re not downloading something potentially harmful.
For an extra layer of protection, get rid of email signatures that feature hyperlinks. Those links can be corrupted and instead of directing the recipient to its intended target, can instead direct them to a site a hacker controls.

4. Never share a password
A fairly straightforward piece of advice, never share important passwords online or use the same password twice.  Since we live in a world of password protection many of us have documents on our computers that store our passwords however experts say breaking into your computer, eavedropping on your computer and getting passwords is easy for hackers.  Also using a password multiple times although easier on our memories makes us easy targets to hack.

5. Never enable geo-tagging, GPS and Wi-Fi
A geotag is an electronic tag that lists the geographical location a photo, video or device is located. You may already have enabled your location on your phone and not know it. To disable the feature, simple check your camera settings and disable “geotags” or “location tag.”  But it’s important to be aware if you’ve enabled geo-tagging because you could be giving outsiders a virtual map to your whereabouts if they get their hands on your device.  Beyond geotags, using free Wi-Fi is another no-no.  Smartphone users tend to leave their Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection on when it’s not needed, which can allow hackers easily taking control devices when you’re out in public.  Hackers can set up fake internet connections in coffee shops to use on unsuspecting customers and easily access that data once the device is connected.  The only safe connections are those where you know who is in charge of the connection such as your employer or your home router.

Although these tips may appear for the overly protective they reinforce how important security for our digital devices is, and how it tends to get overlooked.

This article comes from, originally published Oct. 25, 2016


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