How to Prevent Hackers From Accessing Your Student Computer and Online Accounts

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Photo: Monkey Business Images (Shutterstock) – This demographic is especially susceptible to cyberattacks. Cyberattacks pose a significant threat, and they’re becoming more common. College students, especially those who are away from home, carry their gadgets to class, or often connect to public wifi, may be particularly exposed to hackers and cybercrime. To prevent being a victim of a cyberattack, this is how they may do it.

Ensure that your passwords are secure

The most effective cybersecurity measures are often the simplest. It is incredibly difficult to guess a strong password since it is extremely long and complicated. You may do this by mixing lowercase and uppercase letters, numerals, and special characters.

This xkcd cartoon is a wonderful starting point for building unique, secure passwords that are readily (or at least more quickly) remembered. On top of that, we’ve put up a guide on building passwords that aren’t a pain to remember. It’s okay if your passwords aren’t memorable; you can, and should, use a password manager to help you remember them.

Utilize two-factor authentication

Even if you have a strong password, hackers may still be able to access your password and username if you have an account with a firm that has been breached. Insecure networks, such as those at a neighborhood coffee shop, might potentially reveal your passwords when you enter into an account. Even if you use the college’s wifi or a university’s VPN to access to the internet, you may be at danger since institutions don’t always invest in network security. If hackers can get their hands on a password you’ve used several times, multiple accounts may be at risk.

You get an extra layer of security with two-factor authentication, which asks for an additional piece of information in addition to your password. In most circumstances, when you try to log in, a code will be delivered to your phone, app, or other trusted device. Make sure you never provide this information to anybody else; fraudsters claim to be a reputable source, like your bank, and ask for your 2FA code to “confirm your identity,” while in truth they may now hack into your account.

Be alert to phishing schemes

Fake emails from well-known businesses, banks, and insurance companies are used in phishing campaigns to steal personal information. They have the potential to entice recipients to download harmful software or reveal private information. College students are a particularly vulnerable group to phishing schemes, since many hackers target them with emails that look to originate from financial aid organizations, counselors, and professors.

If you think you’ve been scammed, here’s what you should do next, according to the FTC. If you get an email with a link, be cautious: Examine the email for spelling and grammatical errors that would not be made by a legitimate business, and then click or touch on the sender’s name to see their true email address (often, the real address is clearly phony).

Keep your gadgets up to date

In order to keep your devices safe from malware and viruses, it is important to periodically update your computer, smartphone, or other smart devices with the latest software patches. Because student computers often employ out-of-date software, there is some evidence that hackers target college networks.

Keep your gadgets secure by updating them on a regular basis. It’s simple to plan ahead and keep everything operating on the most recent version of your security software with the help of auto-updates or update scheduling tools. Security updates may typically be skipped if you’re worried about unstable or defective software upgrades. Android already does this by default, and now Apple does as well.

You should use encryption to protect the data on your smartphone

An encryption tool included into your computer’s operating system presumably enables you to secure your data and applications from being accessed by unauthorized users by encrypting the whole contents of your hard disk. If a corporate laptop is lost or stolen, many companies employ this method to preserve the data on it. Even if you’re constantly moving about campus, you may utilize this method to keep all of your important data secure in case one of your devices is stolen or lost.

Microsoft Windows 10 comes pre-installed with an FDE functionality. You’ll have to do this manually on most devices, however. To learn more about encrypting your Mac or Windows computer, see our guide.

Consider utilizing a virtual private network (VPN)

Connecting to both public and private wifi networks while using a virtual private network (VPN) protects your personal data. Because the data you transfer to the internet is encrypted using a VPN, the person or organization in charge of the wifi network will have no idea what you’re up to.

By making your connection seem to be originating from another location, a virtual private network (VPN) may enable you to access material that would otherwise be unavailable to you because of your location. You may fool Netflix into believing that you reside in a certain location by utilizing a virtual private network (VPN). Here’s how to pick a reputable VPN.

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are also available at several schools and universities, which offer students and faculty members access to services that would otherwise necessitate being on campus. Printing from locations outside than the office, as well as access to shared files, all fall under this category.

The institution won’t be able to see what you’re looking at via the use of these VPNs, but the service provider will. The university VPN, on the other hand, lets you access school resources even if you’re not physically on campus.