Security Myths You Need To Stop Believing
This guest post was witten by Jack Foster
To read more of his work, head over to VPN Geeks.
The Internet is a fantastic resource for information, where anyone can upload his or her knowledge to the web. But anyone means anyone, so the data is not always correct and can, unfortunately, spread false reports about certain truths. Here, we debunk popular security myths that have crawled their way around the World Wide Web:
Myth #1 | Passwords are enough to safeguard you
This is a major misconception that many people possess. Passwords aren’t always encrypted on websites, which means if that website is hacked then all your data is now theirs. In addition, most people use throwaway passwords, utilising characters such as ‘123456’ or ‘qwerty’. You can view the worst passwords of 2018 in SplashData’s annual list. To make matters worse, people use these same passwords across multiple sites. So, whilst you may think your Tinder account can have any old password, you may forget that you also use this password for your online bank account, which the hacker now possesses from your Tinder account.
Myth #2 | Antivirus software protects you from all attacks
Antivirus programs have a reputation for being the ultimate defence against viruses. However, not everyone is aware that viruses come in all shapes and sizes, from malware to adware. Even fewer people realise that antivirus software doesn’t deal with all threats and only combat specific viruses. This is especially true of free versions of antivirus packages, such as Malwarebyte’s Adware Cleaner.
Myth #3 | Macs are immune to viruses
This an extremely dangerous mindset to embody as it lowers people’s guards when using the Internet. Although macOS is designed with heavy bolts and locks to keep infestations out, this doesn’t mean your mac is untouchable. You can read this post to discover where this myth stemmed from. Criminals often opt to hack macs because they understand that the owner has at least some form of wealth. However, it’s much easier to attack a weaker OS, so hacked macs aren’t very common. Nevertheless, it’s vital to still be vigilant on the web, since an innocent, misguided step can render any form of antivirus or OS ineffective. For example, if you inadvertently disperse your bank details or data to an online stranger, your security is now compromised. You might also choose to ignore your mac’s warnings about downloading a certain program (because the installation instructions said to ignore warnings notices, for instance), which results in viruses spreading throughout your device.
Myth #4 | VPN’s are shady
When people hear of virtual private networks, images concoct together in their mind of shady, hooded figures bent over their laptops, with scrawling pages of code illuminating their faces from their monitors. And although criminals and hackers do exploit these networks, they aren’t shady at all and shouldn’t be frowned upon. A virtual private network isn’t any more complicated than browsing the Internet normally. In fact, the only difference is that these connections encrypt your data so that no one can access it over the Internet. This is especially useful when surfing the web on public Wi-Fi, such as in coffee shops, where its fortification isn’t particularly robust. This is a big stride in protection against data miners or hackers who want to either sell or steal your identity. If you’re brand new to these private grids, though, it can be very confusing as to which one to pick. Therefore, if you need more information about them and perhaps which one to download, check out VPNGeeks for some top-quality reviews.
Myth #5 | Hackers won’t attack you
The majority of people believe they have no reason to be hacked for an abundance of reasons, from not inputting any sensitive information on their PC or laptop, to not visiting any ‘risky’ websites. A lot of small businesses also assume hackers are only concerned with large corporations. Research shows, though, that half of today’s attacks are on small businesses. However, hackers don’t target any device based on their assumed data (except perhaps for cases mentioned in point number three above). Rather, they target whichever gadget has the weakest security and operating system (such as an outdated version of Windows which may have had a colossal security bug involved). Sometimes hackers don’t even need to target you to infect your computer. They can still plague your device in indirect ways: an example of this would be hackers targeting legitimate websites. It doesn’t matter how big a website is, it can still be infested. In fact, massive websites such as eBay and Quora have suffered from hack invasions. Therefore, if you click on their website without realising it’s been attacked, and the owners haven’t solved the issue yet, then the viruses can easily spread onto your own device.
Myth #6 | Private mode makes you invisible
Settings such as Google Chrome’s ‘Incognito Mode‘, Mozilla Firefox’s ‘Private Browsing‘ and Microsoft Edge’s ‘InPrivate‘ don’t obscure your internet presence, they aren’t in-browser VPN’s. Rather, they are a quick mode for people who wish to browse the web without retaining their history, cookies, cache, etc. However, these modes don’t displace your IP address like a VPN does, so your Internet Service Provider can still track your online activities. IT departments can also track your sessions at work, even if you haven’t logged onto the Internet. (Though most won’t bother unless you accidentally get a virus, which could quickly compromise your whole company’s data if not dealt with quickly).
False rumours about cybersecurity can lead to damaging and harmful security breaches if not clarified. From investing in VPNs to comprehending that your PC is, in fact, susceptible, you can now be more prepared in dealing with viruses and security issues.