It seems that every other week, there’s a new scam or hack doing the rounds.
Whether it’s a cold call, a fraudulent text or a dodgy link in an email, scams seem to be getting more and more sophisticated – which makes it so much harder to work out what’s actually genuine.
Some scammers are so convincing, so we really have to be on our guard to ensure we don’t become victims of the latest hack.
Now, who better to give us tips on how to dodge this kind of criminal activity than a professional hacker?
Keiran Burge is a security consultant at Prism Infosec, and it’s his job to test businesses’ cybersecurity and essentially look for any weaknesses that could be exploited.
He revealed some of the biggest mistakes we’re all making online – and some of these will seriously shock you.
Using out-of-date software
One of the biggest mistakes we can make is not updating our devices.
It’s so easy to put off an update – especially when that little ‘remind me tomorrow’ box pops up.
But out-of-date software is a huge weak spot when it comes to protecting your devices, with Burge telling the MailOnline: “Out-of-date software is a really big issue because, if the software has been updated, it’s probably because there is a security issue.”
Another faux-pas is using the same password for everything, which is always tempting. After all, having one password makes it easier to remember.
But it puts you at a huge risk, because once your password is cracked on one account, a hacker can essentially access all your accounts.
“No matter what site you’re giving information to you, you don’t know what they’re going to do with that information or how they’re going to protect it,” said Burge.
If you overshare online – for example on social media – you’re essentially feeding hackers information.
Burge explained that hackers can scour social media sites, in order to search for details that could offer hints for usernames and passwords.
There’s also a pretty scary hack called ‘sim-jacking’ where criminals find information like your date of birth and address.
“Once you have all that information you can use social engineering techniques to ring up their mobile provider and convince them to transfer the mobile number to a new sim,” he said.
This is especially dangerous as many accounts use our mobile phone numbers for multi-factor authentication.
Using public WiFi
We’ve all logged into public WiFi at a restaurant or airport. But if you regularly do this, it might be time to reconsider.
This is because a lot of the time, public networks aren’t protected and data isn’t encrypted.
“Someone could be sat outside a public WiFi network and just listening in on what’s being sent,” Burge said.
“They could be in the cafe or they could be using specialist hardware to increase the range at which they can listen in on the network.”
Clicking on dodgy links
It sounds like an obvious one, but hackers can be seriously clever and catch us when we’re least expecting it.
Make sure you always check before you click any link, even if it looks legit or seems to be from a genuine source.