cyber-security

Remote schooling has grown in popularity ever since the coronavirus pandemic hit the globe in early 2020. To ensure everyone is safe until the virus is fully under control, many college students are using digital tools to further their studies, however, some fall victim to cybercrime. There are some online predators out there that want to scam students or gain access to their personal information. Cybersecurity experts along with expert essay writers from Customwritings.com will look at a few easy tips college students can use to ensure they are safe when using the internet to study.

Be on the lookout for phishing scams 

One of the most common ways criminals target college students is through phishing scams. Academic writer Joan Young said, “This is where a bogus email is sent to a student in an attempt to spread malware which can be used to steal personal information”. 

Many of these emails will ask students to apply for a loan or accept money from overseas. These scams can easily be detected by checking the sender’s address. Any students who notice that they are being spammed with these emails are advised to report it to their college as the best way to combat this is to be vigilant.

Update the operating system of your apps and devices when asked to do so

Whenever apps on your phone, computers, or tablet devices get a new update, don’t ignore this, update them straight away. This is because the developers of the app have made some changes to the user experience as well as security. 

Criminals are getting smarter all the time and if you don’t want to fall victim to them, you need to stay a step ahead of them. Use a secure network to update all your apps on your devices every time you’re asked to do so. 

Don’t use internet sources that are not secure 

When doing your college work, try as much as possible to avoid using public networks as most of them are not secure and act as a gateway for criminals. Only use internet sources you trust like the one at home or on your college campus. This is because they will provide you with the necessary protection you need while you study without leaving you exposed. 

The lack of security on public networks or those without any security is the same as having these criminals looking over your shoulder. Don’t take any chances and stick to networks you know are secure even if you are desperate to get online unless you use VPN.

Use VPN

When you are accessing education-related materials using a public network, you need to use VPN. This will encrypt your activities and protect you from scammers trying to steal your personal information and passwords. You can do your schoolwork in coffee shops, libraries, dorms, and more without worrying about anything as long as you use a VPN. 

Use a strong antivirus 

To add an extra layer of protection to your online activities, you need to install a very strong antivirus on your devices. This will stop any malware from getting into your devices leaving it vulnerable to online criminals. 

There are so many antivirus programs out there and picking the best one isn’t easy however, the go-to options are Norton and McAfee. These are two of the best antivirus around, and you need to have at least one of them installed on your system. They are available for free, but they also offer packages that give users extra perks for a fee.

Always have backups of files that are important

We all have important files on our computers and these can become lost or corrupted if someone tried to hack through our computer. To protect yourself from this, you should always back up your files. You can either save them on cloud storage or external hardware. It is all down to preference just in case you become a victim of cybercrime. Instead of losing anything that was on your computer, you can breathe easy knowing that there’s a backup for all your files. 

Avoid sharing personal information over the internet

You shouldn’t share any personal information without making sure you’re doing it securely because you just never know who is watching. It doesn’t take skilled hackers to tap into your emails if you have a weak password and steal all your information. Just to be 100% safe, avoid sharing personal information over the internet. 

Make sure you have a strong password 

Criminals steal personal information so that they can sell it on the dark web. If your password is weak, it can easily be cracked or guessed by a hacker. You need to make sure that you create a password that is mixed, complex, and long. It should be 8 characters long at the very least with a mix of numbers, special characters, and numbers. Using things like your name, birthdays, and pet names as a password should be avoided at all costs. 

Only use websites, tools, and apps that will encrypt data 

When you use apps, tools, and websites that encrypt data, you will be kept secure from third parties, snoopers, and hackers. Only use websites that have a padlock and “HTTP” next to them. These websites will guarantee your safety when surfing through them and stay clear of any website that doesn’t have a padlock on it. 

Many students who have ignored this advice have had their information stolen and become victims of fraud later along the line. It is better to be safe than sorry and if a website doesn’t look right, close it and move on to a more secure website that will keep you safe than one that will expose you to scammers. 

Any student needs to ensure that they protect themselves against cybercrime and the first step is to have a strong password. This is very straightforward, but it is one of the most effective ways to be safe. Stay clear of any public networks because many of them can easily be hacked by scammers. If they are not secure, don’t use them no matter how desperate you are to get online. 

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Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.