Credit Union U: Keeping Yourself Safe Online

Protecting yourself and your computer while away at school.

Man Laptop Cellphone Deck

Computers, cell phones, and the internet are part of your ever day life when you’re in college. From online classes, homework and your social life you are connected all the time. Keeping your computer and personal information safe is important and a big responsibility when you are away at school. Here are some helpful tips to help you take on this new role.

Keep Your Electronics Clean

This includes everything you are able to connect to the internet with from your laptop, tablet and smart phone. Updating security software regularly will help prevent your information from being stolen. Using the most up to date software, web browser and operating system are the best forms of protection from viruses, malware and other online dangers. If you do not always know when or where the latest versions of software are available, one idea is to have your computer update software automatically. This way it is one less thing you will need to worry about. Also, consider scanning any external devices (USBs) that can connect to your computer and may be able to cause harm.

Don’t Let Your Private Info Go Public

Creating passwords with various character and letter combinations will help keep you information secure. Try and stay away from the most common passwords like 12345, password or admin. For more information on how to keep your personal data safe read Life. Money. You. article “Doing the Best to Protect Your Personal Data”. Also, take into consideration of who you are sharing information with whether it is for an online class or social media. A professor may want to build up the online classroom, but for the most part there is no reason you would need to provide information like your school or home address. When using Facebook, twitter, Instagram or any other social media sites keep your personal information limited and always think twice about “checking-in” at your favorite locations.

Get Tech Savvy

If you receive a suspicious link in an email, Facebook message, tweet or post delete it as soon as possible and or mark it as junk mail. For the most part these types of links are sent to you by cybercriminals who are looking to hack into your computer and steal information. Always be wary if you receive a message or email that asks you to confirm your username, password, or account information. If you will be doing online shopping or bill pay while away at school it is the best idea to look for websites that use the web address that begin with HTTPS. Basically, these websites take extra measures to make sure all your information is secured.

Be Wise About Wi-Fi

Whether you’re in the classroom, library or coffee shop Wi-Fi is super convenient for you to use. However, always be careful when connected to Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is known as a “hotspot” for hackers who can easily access your information within seconds. It is recommended not to do anything that involves online shopping, banking, or bill pay when using public Wi-Fi. Another good idea would be turn your Bluetooth option off if you are not using it. As mention before, using the most current software and browsers whenever possible will help keep your personal information and computer safe.

Take On Responsibility

Now that you are in college it is up to you to take on full responsibility of protecting your devices and information. It is never a good idea to leave your laptop or cellphone unattended. Be selective of who you are choosing to share your information with. Develop good habits, by updating a calendar every month to remind yourself to change your passwords for various accounts and make sure your software is up to date.