Cyber Security and Internet Safety

While your campus IT department will be working at the community level to keep your campus safe from cyber threats, individual internet safety is an important part of your physical well-being. It is important to know that a lot of what you put online can be public. As a student, you can increase your cyber safety by taking the following precautions.

Create strong and secure passwords and opt for two-factor authentication when available. Used mixed case, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using numbers and words people can easily attach to your identity, like birthdays, phone numbers, or middle names. Update your passwords often and keep them to yourself—don’t share. Two-factor authentication makes it challenging for hackers to access your data.

Use antivirus and anti-malware software and keep it up to date. 

Be wary of phishing. These are schemes that are designed to get personal information or compromise your computer. You can often identify a phishing email because the origin email seems a little “off” or not genuine. They often create a sense of urgency, have a suspicious attachment, ask you for personal information, and the grammar is typically full of mistakes.

Be smart about social media. Check your privacy settings and give your posts the “headline” or “grandma” tests. Would you mind this being a headline of a major newspaper? Would your grandparent be proud if they saw this post? Assume what you post is public, for good. Potential employers in many industries will look up candidates on social media, so be careful about what you put out there and assess how it reflects your values.

Connect to secure networks and use secure websites. Those random wireless hotspots are not secure. People can see what you are doing and can steal your personal and private information. With websites, go directly to the site by typing the address and don’t click into it via a link. You can tell a site is secure if it starts with “https”.

Regularly review your financial accounts like bank and credit card statements. Any discrepancy might be the fist sign that your information has been compromised.

Protect your smart device. Follow these tips to protect your device. You can also use the FCC’s Smartphone Security Checker to get 10 customized steps to secure your mobile device against mobile security threats.