It's that time of the year again: summer's winding down, and students are heading back to college to begin a new academic year.
Whether it's for taking notes, doing research, submitting assignments, or just communicating with classmates and professors, technology plays a huge role in the college experience, and nearly every student is equipped with a laptop and mobile device.
However, despite being considered "digital natives", an alarming number of students are not aware, or not concerned, about the growing threats toward cybersecurity.
In the spirit of education, here are 5 essential cybersecurity tips for all you students out there. Class is in session!
1- Be careful what you share
You might want to consider the impact of what you post online. We'd all like to show off that we passed our driving test, or that we're going on vacation, but posting pictures of things like driver's licenses, boarding passes, or credit cards makes you a prime target for identity theft.
2- Lock up and shut down
Leaving your laptop or phone unlocked is a big mistake.
The damage might be as minor as your annoying roommate changing your Facebook profile picture to something silly, or as major as some stranger in the cafe you're working at messing with your bank account.
If you're going to leave your laptop or phone unattended, make sure you lock it, or set it to sleep or shut down after a certain period of inactivity.
3- Avoid phishing emails
Think twice before you reply to that Nigerian prince.
There are plenty of thieves and scammers on the web, and phishing emails are one of their tried-and-true tactics.
These are emails that might look like they're from a trustworthy source, but are actually trying to trick you into providing sensitive data, like your password or credit card details.
All you have to do to prevent yourself from being "phished" is have some common sense and make sure the sender of an email is really who they say they are.
4- Stick to HTTPS websites
Here's something you may have never stopped to consider. Look up at the address bar of your browser: the URL begins with "https".
This means that unlike HHTP protocol websites, the site you're currently on uses a secure protocol, and all communication between your browser and that site is encrypted. In other words, no third party can eavesdrop on you and intercept the data you provide that site.
That's not to say that all HTTP websites are malicious, but it's always best to proceed with caution.
5- Use a password manager
Last but not least, you'll need to get yourself a good password manager.
On top of the dozen social media accounts you've already got, you're probably gonna have to set up some new academic accounts, which means a whole lot of passwords to remember.
But since you're only human, you'll be very tempted to use the same easy-to-remember password for everything, which is actually quite risky.
This is why it is highly recommended that you use strong and unique passwords, which you can securely store with a password manager.
You won't have to look too far for a great password manager though, as Myki can not only store all your passwords and account information, but can also store sensitive data such as credit cards and private notes, and can even be used as an authenticator for two-factor authentication.