Although some students will be returning to campus this month, many others will be starting their fall semesters online. But while this measure is meant to ensure their safety, doing things digitally can also expose them to other kinds of risks.
Just like employees working from home, students learning remotely are equally vulnerable to online scams and cyber attacks, which means that they'll need to learn a thing or two about cybersecurity, before someone decides to teach them a harsh lesson.
If you're about to begin or resume your academic journey online this semester, or perhaps you know someone who will be, here are 4 essential cybersecurity tips to ensure that your digital learning experience is a safe and secure one.
1- Install all necessary updates
A good way to start would be to make sure that you've got the latest versions of your operating system, browser, and any software you'll regularly be using, like Zoom for example. Whenever a new update is available, don't hold off on downloading it.
Updates often include patches for security vulnerabilities, and it's these vulnerabilities that hackers will attempt to exploit once they've discovered them. By installing updates as soon as they're available, you ensure that your computer and phone have no hidden weak spots that could be used against you.
2- Back up your data
No matter what you're studying, you're gonna be working with a lot of digital files like Word documents and Powerpoint presentations. Whether you're worried about getting hacked or accidentally spilling soda on your laptop, it would be a good idea to save backups of everything so that you can quickly recover, just in case.
You may want to consider uploading copies of your work to a cloud storage service like Google Drive or Dropbox, or even go the extra mile, skip cloud storage altogether, and instead back up your data physically on an external hard drive you can keep on-hand.
3- Beware of phishing emails
Phishing emails are emails that are randomly sent out to try and trick people into either downloading an attachment that is actually a virus in disguise, or click on a link that would redirect them to a fake login page designed to steal their username and password.
In any case, if you ever receive a suspicious email from an unknown sender, or someone claiming to be from an organization like Google, the WHO, or your bank, think twice before downloading any attached files or clicking on any links it urges you to.
4- Use strong and unique passwords
Hands down the best thing you can do to keep your online accounts secure. If you're using the same password for all your accounts, and it's super simple and easy-to-guess, it would only take someone figuring out that one password to gain control of all the accounts you've used it on.
The key is to give each of your accounts a different password, and to make each password complex enough that it can't just be guessed. That might sound like a headache, but it's actually very easy when you use the right tool.
With a password manager like the MYKI Password Manager and Authenticator, you can generate strong and unique passwords for each of your online accounts, securely store them on your device, log into accounts without having to type out their passwords every time, and even set up two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security.
Download the MYKI app on mobile or desktop today and start taking control of your digital identity.