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Comcast report proves people still don’t care about cybersecurity

Safety issues are everywhere online.

Comcast logo with lock
Image: KnowTechie

Comcast released a new cybersecurity report stating that most Americans engage in risky online behavior.

Before you get up in arms about how Comcast knows your browsing history, it’s not that kind of report. It deals with cybersecurity topics like password sharing and two-factor authentication.

Cyber attacks are on the rise, and it’s important to know how to stay safe online. Here’s what Comcast found out and what you can do to avoid being a statistic.

Americans often do unsafe things online

Chart from comcast study showing unsafe online actions taken by americans
Image: Comcast

Okay, raise your hand if you’ve reused your password across multiple accounts. You’re not alone, with 56% of those surveyed doing the same.

How about putting off doing updates because you were using the device? 28% of users noted they neglected to install recommended software updates on smart devices.

Another 18% used the default password instead of changing it. That isn’t good, as those can be figured out from the device network address.

Comcast found that 78% of Americans have done at least one of these risky behaviors online. Yikes.

Do you know which devices are targeted most?

Comcast cyber health report
Image: Comcast

It’s no surprise that smartphones and computers are the two most targeted devices, with approximately 300 million threats each. We carry everything from passwords to banking details and emails on these devices.

Most Americans realize these are the most likely devices to let cyber criminals onto their home network. 61% of those surveyed reported “computer” as their top answer, with 53% noting smartphones.

The problem is that our homes are full of internet-connected devices, so security issues don’t stop there.

Generic IoT devices like IP cameras are a favorite target for criminals, with a reported 224 million threats in 2022. Why? Because these usually don’t have a password to access, and the firmware is often outdated.

Storage like NAS units is also popular to attack. They provide a convenient stepping-off point to your other devices. They also store large amounts of personal data.

Even your smart light switches or outlets could be attacked and set up to sniff data from your network.

Tips for staying safe online

Laptop cybersecurity
Image: Unsplash

With all of those potential threats, it could be hard to know where to start. Comcast put together five main things to do, which also match our usual recommendations.

Use unique passwords

Password entry field
Image: Pexels

Use strong, unique passwords for every single one of your online accounts. Passkeys are becoming more popular, which is another option for securing your accounts.

You can use a password manager, because remembering passwords leads to using easy-to-remember ones or repeating them across multiple services.

Use multi-factor authentication

Google two factor feature on iphone for cybersecurity
Image: KnowTechie

Your password secures your account. With how often data breaches occur, it’s a fair bet that your password will get into the hands of criminals at some point.

Using multi-factor authentication (2FA or MFA) adds a second step to the login process. This usually consists of a one-time code sent to your phone or email, or generated from a security app.

Without that code, nobody is getting into your account.

Enable auto-updates

Iphone auto update screen
Image: KnowTechie

Device updates are an important part of keeping your home secure. Set up auto-updates on everything that supports it, so you don’t have to worry about bugs and exploits ruining your day.

Mixpanel says that only 41 percent of iPhone users are on iOS 16, the latest version. Eight percent are on iOS 14 or earlier.

That’s a lot of missing security updates on those iPhones running out-of-date iOS versions. Set them to auto-update to be better protected.

Know what connected devices you have

Amazon dot fourth generation on a wooden table
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

Comcast says that the average Xfinity household has 15 connected devices. Power users have 34 on average.

That’s a large number of devices you might not think about daily. Keeping a list of which devices are connected to your home network is an excellent way to improve your cybersecurity efforts.

Reviewing that list regularly will show if you still need to keep those devices connected. It’ll also remind you to run updates for any devices that can’t auto-update.

Learn about phishing

Google phishing quiz for cybersecurity
Image: Google

Do you know about phishing? That’s when you get emails, SMS, or other messages that look official. Except — they’re not; they’re fraudulent and try to get your login details.

It’s one of the most common cyberattacks, and many email providers scan for it before email hits your inbox.

For the things that get through, be wary about any email with an attachment or a link that goes to a website URL you don’t recognize.

Google made a quick quiz to test your phishing knowledge. It’s still relevant, even with attackers getting more sophisticated.

Cybersecurity is everyone’s problem

Our lives and homes are becoming increasingly connected. That means we all need to know a little bit about digital security.

Staying safe online can be as simple as reading things twice before clicking. And remember, even seasoned cybersecurity professionals get tricked sometimes.

Have any thoughts on this? Carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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