Computer manufacturers have worked hard to make devices like smartphones as easy to use as possible – you don’t really need training to understand how an iPhone works. But this ease of use means that many of us have developed bad habits that could place us in danger of falling victim to cybercriminals.

Here are five habits we really need to change as soon as possible.

1. Reusing passwords

According to a recent survey, the average American has 150 online accounts that are protected by a password. In an ideal world, every account would have a different password – but we cannot remember so many combinations easily.

As a result, many users choose to reuse the same passwords. This is convenient for us – and hackers. Once they crack one password, they can then use the same password to break into all your other accounts.

The answer is to use a password manager, like the one included in Panda Dome Complete, that can generate strong, unique passwords for all your accounts – and remember them for you.

2. Not backing up

Computers, tablets and smartphones are incredibly reliable – but things do still go wrong occasionally. If your computer broke down, could you get your personal data back?

Every device makes it very simple to backup data, either to another device, or into a secure Cloud service like iCloud or Google Drive. This year you must set up and use a backup service to protect your data.

3. Insufficient privacy protection

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has finally brought the issue of data privacy into the public arena. Many of the apps and services you use every day – Facebook, Google, Twitter etc – collect huge amounts of very sensitive personal data. The sort of data that you wouldn’t want complete strangers reading.

This year you should regain some control of that information by applying the privacy controls included in these apps. At the very least, these changes should help reduce the amount of information being sold on to third parties. You can find the privacy control pages here:

4. Leaving apps signed in

Most smartphone apps allow you to stay logged in so you don’t have to re-enter your password every time it starts up. This is hugely convenient – but also quite risky.

If your phone is stolen, criminals can access all your sensitive personal information without needing the passwords. In future you should always log out of the app; this may seem inconvenient, but having your identity stolen, or bank account emptied, will be even more inconvenient.

A password manager will help to make the process of logging into the app each time slightly more efficient.

5. Hoping everything will be ok

We all assume that nothing bad will happen to our computers, that we are clever enough to block malware before it can spread. But the reality is that we’re not. According to Pew Research Centre, more than half of people surveyed (64%) had personally experienced a major data breach.

Many of these problems are because we don’t protect our devices properly. Instead of installing anti-malware tools that will block viruses, we simply hope that everything will be OK.

This year, make sure you install a comprehensive anti-malware tool like Panda Dome on all of your devices to help better protect yourself against cybercrime.

Get started now by downloading a free trial of Panda Dome and see for yourself just how easy it is to break these bad habits.