- You don’t have antivirus software on your phone. You’re getting smarter and locking down your accounts that you use on your desktop/laptop PC, and yet for some reason you’re not doing the same thing on your phone, which you use more often. Phones are just handheld computers with calling capabilities, so why are you being so lazy with securing it? Put Sophos on it. Now. Right now.
- You’re not paying attention to your saved credit card and login info and clearing it out. On your PC: Control Panel -> Credential Manager. In Chrome: 3 dots in the top-right corner, Settings -> Advanced, Manage Passwords. If you don’t want someone else to have it, clear it out.
- Speaking of – you’re not using Chrome to its fullest potential. 3 dots in the top-right corner, Settings -> Advanced, “Use hardware acceleration when available” damn well better be turned off, unless you enjoy your .gifs and videos not loading. You’re not using enough extensions: Adblock/Adblock for YouTube. Empty New Tab Page. Auto History Wipe.
- You don’t change your login information to your router/generally don’t have a damn clue what your router is and how to use/configure it. It’s literally the heart of your home internet capability and you think it’s just some magical box. Change your default logins. Lock down your WiFi. Disable remote administration. If you don’t know how to do any of this, you have succeeded in letting your ISP control your house.
- You don’t reboot your electronics when shit breaks. It’s insane to me how “Have you tried restarting?” is probably the most well-known joke people make to IT people and then don’t do it. If it runs on electricity and it stops working and it has the capability to be restarted, you need to do it.
- You don’t update your OS on your PC or phone. If you aren’t installing updates, you may as well just let everyone right on in to your shit. Yes, sometimes updates break things and make it look different and change is scary. But you know what’s even more scary? Someone encrypting all your files and demanding BitCoin to unlock them all because you didn’t patch a vulnerability. That’s your fault.
- You don’t maintain your PC. You don’t run disk cleanup or CCleaner regularly. You don’t defrag your HDDs. You don’t run anti-malware scans and clean out the remnants of the shady shit you look at. You don’t open up the case and blow the dust out. PCs are like cars, and if you don’t clean them up they’re going to bog down and you’re going to think it’s broken when it’s not. Or, it may actually be broken and require a wipe & reload because you let it get so bad. All of this is preventable, and should be done for something you spent 4-figures on.
- You don’t know enough about the technology you use. You have no idea how many times I have to console grown-ass adults because they don’t know how to use the technology they bought. You don’t buy a car you don’t know how to drive, so why are you buying tech you don’t have the first clue about? And don’t give me that “Geek Squad told me I needed it” bullshit, because you should know better in 2017. Read reviews. Research. Ask someone you know who does have a background in technology. Don’t just blindly spend a couple stacks on some new tech that is going to make you look like an idiot, because people like me are going to have to suffer explaining it to you.
- You don’t back your data up to somewhere else. If you have something you can’t afford to lose on a device with internet access, you damn well better have it in more than one place. You don’t even have to pay anything these days – use DropBox or Google Drive or something. There is no excuse to lose any of your data, because all of it is able to be replicated somewhere else. Your physical media should be digitized and backed up off-site. Your local data should also be remote. Set up 2-way synchronization so you never have to worry about it. If these words are intimidating, then find someone who can decipher this for you.
- You don’t invest in upgrades when you need to. Upgrade your router when it can’t handle the amount of concurrent connections you’re throwing at it. Get more bandwidth for your 4K streams of… Add more RAM, an SSD, or get a completely new machine if you need to. It’s not because the hardware magically decomposes; it’s because what you demand of the hardware can’t handle how fast technology is evolving. It’s the equivalent of standing there yelling at your old dog for not being able to play with you anymore because it’s old. You just look like a jerk – that thing served you well in its prime, but all good things must come to an end and you as an end-user either have the choice to accept your place behind the curve or to upgrade.
How will you know when to upgrade? When an inanimate object ruins your day.