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5 Things That Make You Susceptible To Hackers

5 Things That Make You Susceptible To Hackers

Gone are the days when hacking was only directed at celebrities and high profile individuals. Hackers of today target almost everybody. With technological advancement and the consequent excessive reliance on technology, information, assets, and other really important things are most times backed up on one technological device or the other…online.

Hackers want just one thing – your information – and would go any length to ensure they get it from you without your knowing. They wait, and set up baits for unsuspecting internet users to get trapped in.

To avoid being susceptible to hackers, avoid doing the things listed below.

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1. Making use of a password book

A password book is only a great idea until hackers compromise you. Today, passwords have become complicated, most times a combination of alphanumeric, lower and uppercase characters, and symbols, which quite honestly could be difficult to remember.

But then, resorting to the use of a password book is never a god idea. This is a NO-NO. This is the biggest online pass you can ever give a hacker.

Instead of password books, save your passwords on a different drive and encrypt them. You alone will know how to decrypt it and the hacker is none the wiser.

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2. Using a weak and outdated antivirus

This is similar to installing a weak, outdated security system for your house in a high crime area. It is as good as not installing anything at all. The same applies to using a weak, outdated antivirus. This leaves you fully exposed for a hack.

A lot of antiviruses come free, but then are very weak, and in some cases are not even safe. It is best to get a paid, strong antivirus that you will regularly update to keep you safe from hackers.

3. Making use of the same password for everything

It is tough trying to use different passwords for different accounts. Many people use one password over and over again for different accounts in a bid to avoid forgetting their many different passwords.

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Can you imagine what harm will be done when a hacker gets a hand on this single all-serving password? You will lose access to all these accounts at the same time and might never regain control. Using the same password is never a good idea. Switch things up!

4. Clicking indiscriminately on anything interesting online

Perhaps you have seen lots of attractive pop-ups when surfing the web. You are so tempted to click, to access the once in a lifetime offer presented to you. Calm down – you might be walking into a hacker’s trap!

Most of these links have viruses, malware, and bugs, and once installed on your computer, they get to work, giving hackers access to use your PC remotely. This freely offers them all your vital information and makes public your confidential items. The next time you have an impulse to click on such links, remind yourself that this might be a hacker’s snare.

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5. Thinking you are not important enough to be hacked

Many people still think hacking is only for the high and mighty. This is absolutely untrue.

No matter how unimportant you feel you are, you have information hackers could be interested in. You have financial accounts and other non-financial accounts that could fetch them money or get you blackmailed into paying cash for your information to be kept private. And that’s aside from identity theft, which has become the order of our day.

Be ready and prepared to ward off hackers. Thinking you don’t have any important information hackers need is living a lie that could haunt you one day.

Hackers are smart, mean, and vicious. They will lure, they will trick, they will try until they find your vulnerabilities and exploit them. It’s best you avoid what makes you susceptible to their actions, and you will be glad you did.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash.com via pexels.com

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Amber McNaught

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

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Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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