Restart your computer to prevent problemsYou can’t move for well-meaning security advice. For the basics, we recommend checking out Get Safe Online, PC Advisor’s Security Bible – plus Microsoft’s advice.

And to keep you on the right track, here are six common security mistakes.

If you can avoid making these basic errors you’ll be well on the way to keeping your computer, files, data and identity nice and secure.

  1. Losing stuff. 2008 research found that European business travellers lose 15,648 laptops a week – 900 at Heathrow. Wonder how many of those people lost important files as a result. If you’re travelling with your laptop, keep everything backed up, and don’t leave it in any departure lounges.
  2. Avoiding system restarts. You know the message: Restart your computer to finish installing important updates. It’s an unwanted interruption and it’s easy to hit Postpone. Don’t. That restart could give you extra protection again hackers – so shut down and take the opportunity for a break.
  3. Turning security software off. Security software can occasionally interfere with software on your computer. But however tempting it may seem, don’t turn it off. The moment you do, you become more susceptible to viruses, hackers and other threats.
  4. Using illegal software. Pirated software can be tempting – especially if it’s free. But there’s a high price to pay in other ways. A recent survey found 62% of people using pirated software said that obtaining it had led to their PC being infected with a virus. Still seem like such a bargain?
  5. Letting strangers see your personal details. Yes, so if you add 500 acquaintances, contacts and total strangers as Facebook friends you’ll look more popular. You also risk exposing sensitive details like your date of birth, home town and phone number to people who might steal your identity.
  6. Using easy passwords. A recent analysis of 32 million leaked passwords revealed that a high proportion of people use the same common passwords. Like 123456. And password. Even though they can be harder to remember, you really, really should use strong passwords. Go on. Change yours now.

Most of us have made mistakes where security is concerned – what are yours? If you’re willing to admit to leaving a laptop in a strange place or inadevertently emailing your password to your whole address book, leave a comment to let us know.

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4 Responses

  • Grant

    Points 2, 3 & 4 seem like pretty good reasons to avoid running the Microsoft operating system that’s prone to viruses and has more holes than a sieve.

    June 17, 2010 at 10:31 pm
  • Rob

    Where you are asked for a date of birth but the site is not your bank/creditcard etc. have a second birthday (like the queen!!) so that your real records are harder to get.

    Also you forgot using unsecured wireless networks – that has to be “up there” as well. And also BUY A SHREDDER ;)

    July 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm
  • Steve

    Really? Not the people that wrote the software (anti_Virus et al) running on MS OS?
    They write for Other OS’s too you know…

    July 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm
  • Spectre

    @Grant Do you have any facts to back your statement up? No operating system is free from security holes.

    Heck even Linux has them and patches are released regulaly to address these security holes.

    July 8, 2010 at 4:30 pm