Talk to your students about Cyber safety!
As the end of August nears, thousands of students get ready to begin fall classes at their colleges and universities, many of whom will be stepping foot in a college classroom for the first time. Countless hours of preparation go into this moment- back to school shopping, online classes to get a head start, moving into a new dorm or apartment- but are students and doing enough to protect themselves from cyber threats that have proven to be abundant on college campuses?
Many institutions of higher learning pride themselves on providing public places and forums for students and staff to share thoughts, ideas, and information. Unfortunately, hackers and data thieves can take advantage of this environment to infect computers and access personal and private information.
New and returning students should take the following measures to be safer from cyber-attacks:
- Make sure electronic equipment is physically secure. Use laptop locks and USB blockers whenever possible, make sure thumb drives and other external storage are not accessible to others, don’t leave phones or other mobile devices out in the open and out of sight.
- Create strong passwords. Refrain from using familiar names or phrases that can be easily guessed. Multi-factor authentication is a plus, and is encouraged to be used whenever possible. This link will lead you to a short video that provides simple but effective guidelines for creating strong passwords: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drTJq9CmyHw
- Manage social media effectively to prevent sharing personal information. Many times, personal information may be taken or gleaned just by scanning a social media account.
- Perform regular back-ups of important files from your laptop. If you are a victim of malware, a backup drive will ensure that important files are not lost.
- Be aware of scams and false advertisements. Hackers may use phishing email scams – emails that are made to look like legitimate advertisements- to access personal or financial information. If an email or advertisement for a product looks too good to be true, it more than likely is.
Returning to school after summer vacation is a joyous occasion. Cyber hacks and breaches can cause unneeded stress and anxiety, and in some cases, can even lead to losses. Use the above measures to help you stay safe and secure.
By Anirudh Nadkarni.