Hopefully, college campuses will be going back to work full-time. The past few years were challenging, but the world of academia must go on. Students are back to attending their classes regularly (for the most part).
But, with campuses full of students, cyber threats arrive as well. No matter the field you’re in, you’re bound to use something digital, at least for sending emails and writing papers.
Let’s talk about the things you can do to make your data safer and your college days cyber-secure!
Rethink your password etiquette
The very first thing you should do is check all your passwords and see whether there are compromised ones. Data breaches are a real thing, and credentials get swept all the time, even from big data players.
So, besides changing leaked passwords, think about changing all your passwords often (or at least the most-used and important ones). Even if you’re careful, it’s a game of chance, but if you don’t keep up with your password game, the chances of getting hacked will only go up.
Keep your devices locked
This is especially important for people in dorms!
In college, you’ll most likely rely on your phone and an additional device (a tablet or a laptop). Now, each of these devices comes with a locking system. This includes not only the inability to use the device without a password/fingerprint/face scan – but it also helps with device theft via the “Find My Device” service. Make sure to enable both features.
To make things really secure, use multi-factor authentication wherever possible. Even a standard 2FA (two-factor authentication) will more than double your digital safety.
Back up your data
In case you do get busted, and your data gets stolen/encrypted, you can always fall back to a good old backup. Back in the day, people used to back up their data on portable hard drives and extra-large thumb drives. Nowadays, you can back up your research (and a bunch more) to the cloud.
And, believe it or not, the cloud is a way safer option than physical data backup, thanks to a whole lot of factors – mainly human error. On top of that, you can access your study notes from wherever.
Be extra careful about the links you open
From slideshows and essays to shady 3rd party software and research dumps, you’ll be digging through the internet during college a lot. So, it would be smart to keep phishing and similar scams in mind.
College students easily get careless during research, so it’s somewhat easier for a scam to succeed. Double-check all the links you’re opening (hover over the link and check the bottom left corner of your browser. Also, make sure not to give out your credentials to anyone.
Even if the campus head of security asks for your password, you do not give it out because it’s probably a phishing scam.
Beware of public WiFi
Living the life of a college student also means studying in the weirdest of places. And in most cases, you need a connection to do it. Coffee shops, campus WiFi hotspots, dorms, study halls, you name it.
All of these places are also ideal spots for setting up phony public WiFi hotspots. In most cases, the scammer will make the network look like something ordinary (e.g., University Name WiFi Spot 6). And, once they access your device through this corrupted network, they can do whatever they want with your data.
To avoid all of this, ask around (info desks are your best bet) and check which WiFi hotspots are legit.
College campuses can be a goldmine for hackers, which is why you should always be vigilant. By following the tips laid out in this article, you’ll make yourself an unlikely target for hackers, and you’ll keep your sensitive data safe.