Imagine this scenario — if you were a hacker looking to release a new virus, phishing scheme, or botnet control scheme, what do you think would be the profile of a perfect victim? What bad computer habits do they have that you could easily exploit? Check out some of these bad habits that will guarantee to infect your computer in no time — so beware!

Avoiding Updates

A definite way to leave a machine vulnerable is to avoid updating your system, software, and security. Windows Update and Automatic Updates for Java, Flash, PDF Reader, Office, and other pieces of software frequently provide regular security updates as leaks are discovered. While it’s true that some updates introduce new security vulnerabilities, for the most part, it’s safer to update, rather than not. Even if a computer is protected with the latest antivirus suite, disabling automatic updates is like leaving your gates open and unguarded.

Keeping Old Versions of Applications

Another chance of making your PC vulnerable is by keeping old versions of a program. Even if you’re already running the latest Java, Flash, or PDF Reader, don’t forget the some older versions do not automatically update or remove themselves when a new version is installed. And keeping an old version in your computer system along with a new one can serve as a malicious gateway that programmers can exploit.

Disabling User Account Control (UAC) Features

User Account Control is a feature that alerts users when a program tries to make changes to your Windows settings, specifically those that require Administrator rights. If this is disabled, users get absolutely no warning whenever a program, whether beneficial or malicious, attempts to change the Windows system. This is definitely one tempting vulnerability that unauthorized users or hackers would be happy to oblige.

Downloading Programs from Untrusted or Suspicious Sites

Hasty Google searches, along with clicking on the first download link that comes up, is another bad habit that’s very easy to exploit. A user that doesn’t make sure or check if they’re downloading from a legit website or download mirror is another easy mark for spyware advertising embedded in a bogus file.

Piracy, Cracks, and Keygens

Software piracy has been an old and un-solvable computing tradition. Nowadays, a little patience and a decent web search will instantly give you dozens of crack files and keygens so that you can enjoy your less-than-legal copies of Windows, Office, or Adobe Creative Suite. Obviously, it doesn’t matter that over 90% of them (and frequently the host sites) are vectors of malware.

Using Open or Unsecured Wi-Fi

Open or unsecured wireless networks, using the obsolete WEP encryption, or even those that use WPA but contain easily-guessed passwords, are keys for vulnerability. Another way, of course, is file sharing over Wi-Fi connection.

Using the Same Password

Everywhere you go on the Internet, you’ll be required to sign up or register, and otherwise authenticate your ID. There are lazy users who stick to the same password wherever they go, which makes it much easier for hackers to find out their login details, and requiring only a single leak to break open all of their user accounts and logins.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Saturday, October 24, 2015 at 6:34:32 AM and is filed under Computer Security & Data Protection.

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