Why Internet Safety Is Important in College: Useful Tips

The internet, as great as it is, comes with a slew of risks. As a university student, you’ll utilize the internet regularly for research work, assignment submission, grade tracking, and Netflix binge. You must surf the internet as securely as possible.

University students are a common target.

Polytechnics and universities are popular targets for cybercriminals. In 2016, the education sector ranked second in terms of cyber security breaches. It can be enticing for students to share computers in the library or classrooms, as well as the internal network essential for the school to function.

To preserve both your personal and professional well-being, you should develop good internet habits.

1. Utilize your common sense

Personal security in general necessitates a great deal of rational thinking. It’s basic decency not to visit a website or open an email if something on the internet does not at all feel right. Be cautious of interacting with “friends” you don’t know or disclosing more confidential info than is strictly essential. Identity theft or a stolen credit card can be a long, overwhelming task to rebound from, and being cautious about your buying online and public appearance can help you avoid having to go through it. When surfing the internet, keep your eyes open and follow the guidelines below to protect your computer and identity.

2. Understand the terminology

If a cyberattack is significant, it generates headlines. When millions of Americans’ personal information (including Social Security numbers) was stolen in a cyberattack in 2017, Equifax was the firm that you undoubtedly heard the most about. These types of attacks, however, are not limited to large organizations. Individuals are targeted daily. The words connected with cyberattacks are listed below to help you keep track of them.

  • Spam is any unwanted and unwelcome email that can be “reported as garbage” to your email address administrator to stop similar communications from reaching your inbox in the future.
  • Malware is any malicious program designed to harm a computer, its operating system, or its software.
  • A virus is a type of malware that attacks a document or software with malicious code. The virus becomes operational when the file or program is launched. The virus infects additional files and systems if the infected file or application is transmitted between computers via email, flash drive, or other means. Viruses can deactivate applications and destroy information.
  • A worm is a type of malware that copies itself and operates in the background when you are working on your system. A worm, unlike a virus, doesn’t at all require a user’s digital or virtual sharing to move across folders and systems.
  • A trojan is an application that appears to be genuine to get you to install it (like the gift of the Trojan Horse). You’ve downloaded malware after it’s been acquired. Trojans are unable to reproduce themselves.
  • Phishing is the act of obtaining your login details, bank account number, PIN, or other sensitive information. A fraudster posing as a legitimate corporation may send you an email with an URL that instructs you to log in and confirm some details after clicking the link.
  • Spyware is a program that is set up silently on your system to obtain information concerning your activities on the internet and send it back to the attacker. Spyware either just receives information from the pages you browse or the sites you visit, or it may monitor all the things you do when you sign in.
  • Ransomware is malicious software that prevents you from logging in or accessing your computer’s apps or data. When you try to use your computer, you’ll get a message demanding a ransom payment in exchange for it being unlocked.

Use a firewall, antivirus, and malware removal program to protect your computer

Several institutions may propose to set up a software tool for free if your laptop did not come with some type of internet protection (Windows Defender, for example). Because most schools just have single or multiple WiFi networks for the entire school, universities like to keep their students’ devices safe. As a result, any vulnerability has the potential to affect hundreds of additional users. If you need to buy a security system, the sort of computer you have will determine what you require. Norton Security, for example, protects both Macs and PCs from viruses, spyware, and phishing.

3. Regarding junk and newsletters create a new email address

Think about setting up a different email account from your school or personal email to receive promotions if you are the type of person who signs up for online lotteries, special offers, and morning bulletins. It will not only help to keep your personalized mail private, but it will also remain spam-free. Free email services are available from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

4. Only use a credit card to shop online, not a debit card

It is important to point out that you should make use of your credit card anytime making purchases on the internet, regardless of how respectable the website is. When you use your debit card, the funds are debited from your balance. When your debit card information is compromised, the hacker will have immediate access to your funds. Credit cards secure your bank accounts, and because they don’t get to be repaid off right away, you have time to review your charges (and contact your financial institution to challenge anything that seems fishy) till you have to pay. When fraud stays unreported for 2 months, consumer rights are restricted.

5. Keep an eye out for the seal icon

You’ll notice a seal icon (or the word “secure”) beside the Web address on some websites. Instead of “HTTP,” you might see “HTTPS.” It indicates that your access to that page is protected by encryption thus making it more difficult to hack. Buy stuff only from businesses that offer a secure channel. Similarly, every website that requests confidential info, regardless of the type of transaction, should be safe. When you’re not positive if a website is safe, don’t give out any confidential information about yourself or financial details. 

6. Personal information should not be shared on social media

Although it’s fine to have your name visible on some social media platforms, you might not want to publicize your residential address or your contact information, particularly if your page isn’t configured to “friends only” or “closed.” If people are curious about who you are for whatever reason, among the first places they will check is on social networks. Avoid publishing anything you wouldn’t want your parents or a prospective employer to see, and don’t announce where you will be.

Keep private images off the internet.

It’s always important to be cautious about what you say on social media, but it’s perhaps even more so when it comes to the images you publish. Again, don’t publicize anything that you would not want your parent or a possible employer to see. It’s simple to keep track of what you post on Facebook, Instagram, or another social media site, but it’s more difficult to keep track of what others post or share. Increase your internet privacy settings to keep yourself secure. For example, Facebook lets you pick whether or not you want to check a photo in which you’ve been tagged before it appears on your profile. 

However, pictures aren’t just posted on social media. People are also using messaging apps such as WhatsApp to send and receive messages and photographs. Regardless of who the recipient is or how much you trust him or her, think twice before sending private photos via texting. Images can be passed about among friends, used to abuse others, or put on the internet. Keep your photos clean, or don’t post them at all via texting.

When using an unprotected wireless network, avoid filling out forms that demand sensitive information

When a network is unprotected, it means that anyone can access it. Hackers can have immediate access to your personal information by entering your name, address, and phone number. Putting your credit card information, debit card number, or password for online banking is a surefire way to become a victim of identity theft. Pay close attention to any forms that request your Social Security number. The Internal Revenue Service, government entities, your employer, and credit card firms are the only ones who will ever require your Social Security number.