Consumer Reports recently published a list of Seven Online Blunders and common mistakes made by consumers which leave their computers – and their identities – at risk.

The seven are all common-sense and are topics we’ve talked about before, but it never hurts to read another perspective. Here’s my take on their list.

  1. This sounds really obvious but the anti-virus software won’t do any good if you turn it off – or if you stop paying for the updates. Make sure your anti-virus is on and up-to-date.
  2. Be suspicious of any link in an email. The risk of phishing remains high.
  3. Passwords are tricky. Too easy and they can be easily guessed. Too many or too complex and you’ll write them down, defeating the purpose. Use your own rules to build strong, unique passphrases that are easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess.
  4. Be careful about downloads. “Free” stuff is often quite expensive if it comes bundled with some form of malware.
  5. Macs aren’t perfect. (Neither is my favorite, Firefox.) There may be fewer viruses targeting those systems, but there are more every day. (I wouldn’t have put this one at number 5 – the CR folks must see a lot more Mac users than I do.)
  6. Scareware is scary. Never click that pop-up that says “Your computer is at risk!!!”
  7. Online shopping is not quite the same as shopping at a physical store. It can be safe if you stick to reputable retailers and use common sense.

To that list, I would add:

Leave a Reply