It’s back-to-school time, and no matter the age of the student, or the location of the school, there’s one class that everyone needs to pass. Smart cybersecurity habits need to be on all of our minds, and we can’t afford to fail. We’ve put together some reminders about staying safe online and with your technology.
Make sure that you’re starting off the academic year on solid footing. Update all of your software and hardware to ensure that it has the latest security patches installed. If you are using an outdated version or technology, consider an upgrade that is equipped with stronger defense mechanisms against cybercrime. There are many student discount options available. Some may not be promoted, so ask at the store or do a bit of research online before you shop. Many reputable vendors have student options. When you are downloading software updates, only do it from the manufacturer’s site. Turn on automatic security updates.
Purchase a charging block to avoid the need for public charging devices or stations. These are often the source of detrimental downloads and can easily be avoided with your own equipment.
Password security should be taken seriously. Review your passwords and use a password manager to store your secure login credentials. Review your laptop settings and make sure that the screen locks after inactivity. Enable options that would allow you to locate your device or wipe the data if it is stolen. You can also use security tracking tags on hardware.
Review your banking credentials to have multi-factor authentication and enable alerts for suspicious spending.
You’ll be forging many new relationships both academically and socially. Be aware of email phishing scams and fraudulent email addresses. Don’t click on links before verifying that the sender is legitimate and not a spoofed address.
Students are a target demographic. Be wary of “free” offers or job scams that require you to pay for them. You should be paid to work, not the other way around. Consult with your school administration about employment or intern programs in order to verify legitimacy.
While these aren’t hardware related, be aware of cyberbullying and how much you share online. Location services can be a valuable tool if in the hands of people that you trust. And while cyberbullying isn’t something you can prevent with a download, you can be aware of it.