4 Popular Misconceptions About Your Personal Cybersecurity

There is no such thing as not being worth their effort.

John Teehan
Apr 1 · 5 min read
Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash

Too many people fail to take the time or effort to nurture good cybersecurity habits.

In a way, it’s understandable. Cybercrime only happens to other people, right? Or, it’s a problem for businesses, not individual people, right?

Sadly, that’s not the case. Not taking cybersecurity at home (or the workplace) seriously can result in downtime, loss of money, and a lot of unnecessary hassle.

Here are some things many people misunderstand about online threats.

No one wants my data.

I can understand this. I make enough to pay the bills, but that’s about it. I keep a lot of work on the cloud, but let’s be honest. What cybercrime lord wants a bunch of layout files for film journals, old-time radio scripts, and articles on roofing?

My data is not sexy. My credit is so-so. No high limits to exploit. Therefore, I’m not at significant risk of cyberattack. Right?

Right?

Uf. If only it were that so.

Most cybercriminals love little fish like me. If they can lock down my data and get me to pay a ransom, they know the odds of them getting away with it are higher than if they went after a large commercial or government entity. While the expected payout may be small, these people work in volume. If they can get 50 people out of a hundred to pony up $500 to ransomed personal data, that’s $25,000. If they manage this with a bot, they don’t even have to work that hard.

Even if they don’t ransom my data, selling bulk info like bank accounts and credit card numbers on the dark web can make them some decent coin and open you to identity theft and fraud.

So, yeah. Everyone’s data is a target.

Photo by Dan Nelson on Unsplash

My password is enough security.

Strong passwords are a must — no doubt about it. But it’s not enough by itself.

Not if you want more bulletproof security.

Whenever presented with the option, enable multi-factor authentication for an added level of security. This authentication process usually requires you to verify your identity with a temporary code sent to your smartphone or email address.

Those annoying Captcha processes are another method for multi-factor authentication, although it’s more to make sure you’re not a bot. Still, they can be helpful if for no other reason than blocking quick access to your accounts. Don’t dismiss them.

Phishing scams are easy to detect.

Well, it’d be nice to think that we’re far too clever to be taken in by a clumsy phishing attack, and when it comes to clumsy phishing attacks, you’re probably right.

But not all phishing attacks are clumsy. Some are, in fact, quite sophisticated.

In addition to copying logos, color schemes, and other trusted institutions’ brand identifiers, the phrasing of the phishing email can be compelling. Often, it’s a warning regarding your account and that you need to log in immediately to change your password.

Of course, it’s a scam attempting to skim your login information. Obvious in hindsight, but if worded with enough urgency, they can be surprisingly convincing.

How do I know?

Because it’s one of the most popular forms of cyberattack today, and it’s a form of scam that’s been around for decades. Phishing attacks remain profitable enough that cyber criminals keep using them.

Avoid clicking on links embedded in unexpected emails. Know that you will likely not be asked for any login information via email from any reputable bank or other institution. Don’t download invoices or other files you don’t expect, either.

Be suspicious. It’s unfortunate that it’s the way things are, but better safe than sorry.

Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash

Anti-virus software will protect me.

Many people install off-the-shelf anti-virus software onto their systems and call it a day, assuming that’s going to be enough to keep them safe.

Unfortunately, there are many ways you can become the victim of a cyberattack. You could fall victim to social engineering probes that try to trick users into giving out personal information. Or a dedicated-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack could cause multiple crashes and interfere with your ability to do business.

And viruses and other malware are constantly evolving. If you don’t keep up with the latest virus profiles for your anti-virus software, then you’ll be leaving yourself vulnerable to more recently-developed threats.

Complacency is your biggest risk.

Infected computers, compromised data, identity theft, and fraud are all possible results of getting complacent with your cybersecurity. There are no targets too small.

If you think crippling cyberattacks are exclusive to large institutions, you’d be wrong.

Save yourself time, money, and aggravation by taking your cybersecurity seriously. Build strong passwords, keep current on anti-virus software and online threats. Use caution when interacting with emails and text messages.

Cybercriminals rely on you not paying attention closely enough. You can beat them by building solid defenses and developing good online habits.

Thank you for reading. I’d love to share more with you via my Bi-Weekly Word Roundup newsletter sent to subscribers every other Sunday. It will feature news, productivity tips, life hacks, and links to top stories making the rounds on the Internet. You can unsubscribe at any time.

SYNERGY

This publication bring writers, editors, bloggers, freelancers, and readers in one place.

John Teehan

Written by

Writer specializing in tech, business, parenting, pop culture, and gaming. Visit wordsbyjohn.net for more info and rates. Twitter: @WordsByJohn2

SYNERGY

SYNERGY

SYNERGY hosts articles about all aspects of writing, editing, blogging, and freelancing.

John Teehan

Written by

Writer specializing in tech, business, parenting, pop culture, and gaming. Visit wordsbyjohn.net for more info and rates. Twitter: @WordsByJohn2

SYNERGY

SYNERGY

SYNERGY hosts articles about all aspects of writing, editing, blogging, and freelancing.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store