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Top 10 Cybersecurity Tips for College Students

Tip #1 – Know that you are a target for hackers

Many students think, “It won’t happen to me.” But we are all at risk to cyber-attacks, cyber scams, and other cybercrimes. The stakes are high – from your personal and financial well-being, to university’s standing and reputation.

 Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility.

Tip #2 – Keep your software up-to-date

It is critical that you keep your operating system updated to the latest version. In particular, you should always install the latest security patches.

 Turn on automatic updates for your laptop and smartphone

 Use secure Web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, or Brave that receive frequent security updates

Tip #3 – Practice good Password management

Use a strong mix of characters, and don’t use the same password for multiple sites. Don’t share your password with others, don’t write it down, and definitely don’t write it on a post-it note attached to your monitor.

Tip #4 – Avoid being a victim to Phishing scams

Always be careful when clicking on attachments or links in email. If it’s unexpected or suspicious for any reason, don’t click on it. Double check the URL of the website the link is pointing to: bad actors will often take advantage of spelling mistakes to direct you to a harmful domain.

Tip #5 – Don’t expose your Banking or Credit Card data

Sensitive browsing, such as banking or shopping, should only be done on a device that belongs to you, on a network that you trust, preferably using a secure VPN. Whether it’s a friend’s phone, a public computer, or a cafe’s free WiFi—your data could be copied or stolen.

Tip #6 – Know the dangers of Social Media

Watch what you’re sharing on social networks. Criminals can befriend you and easily gain access to a shocking amount of information—where you go to school, where you work, when you’re on vacation—that could help them gain access to more valuable data. In addition, be wary of “social engineering” where someone attempts to gain information from you through manipulation. If someone calls or emails you asking for sensitive information, it’s okay to say “No!” You can always call the company directly to verify credentials before giving out any information.

Tip #7 – Never leave devices unattended

If you need to leave your computer, phone, or tablet for any length of time—no matter how short—lock it up so no one can use it while you’re gone. If you keep sensitive information on a flash drive or external hard drive, make sure to lock it up as well.

Tip #8 – Use 2-Factor Authentication

It’s important to have a strong password, but it’s even more imperative to have two-factor, or multi-factor, authentication. This method provides two layers of security measures so if a hacker can accurately guess your password, there is still an additional security measure in place to ensure that your account is not breached.

Tip #9 – Install Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Protection

Install anti-virus and anti-spyware from known and trusted sources. Keep your anti-virus software updated.

Tip #10 – Backup Your Data!

You need to backup your data regularly. If you have a security incident, such a virus attack, or worse a Ransomware attack, your only guaranteed way to repair your system is from a clean backup!