Tips for College Freshmen: Privacy and Security
Congratulations. If you’re reading these words, you’re either a new college student, or almost a new college student. In both cases you did great, and a new interesting part of life will start to unfold before you shortly.
Your parents have probably already warned you about some dangerous things, haven’t they? It was probably “freshman 15”, accidents, drugs and alcohol. While all of it is still actual, there’s one more threat that you should consider very seriously. It’s your privacy and security. Hackers and online privacy risks can sometimes get you into even bigger trouble than alcohol. Find out how to remain secure during your time at college.
How to Be Safe in College
- Privacy. Most of the college students have roommates. While we wish you to have the best roommates ever, we can’t guarantee that you will have the ideal variant. Therefore it will be very appropriate for you to set up a password for all your devices and avoid sharing them with your roommates. Also mind what you have on the screen of your laptop in public spaces or in the library.
- Security. Stay safe online, that’s what they say. But how to do it? And can you achieve it on a campus network? Rules are simple and they really help if you follow them scrupulously:
- use strong passwords (with numbers, special symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters)
- use encryption soft (FileVault for MacOS and TrueCrypt for Windows)
- use anti-viruses and firewalls
- update your software regularly
- Physical security – while cyberattacks are a real threat and students should always remember about keeping their info safe, theft can also occur. There are great cables made by Kensington that allow locking laptops to a desk. Do you know about “find my phone” feature? It doesn’t matter if you have an Android or Apple device, both have the software that enables to locate the phone remotely and make it ring or delete the data on request. This service will work only if your device is connected to the Internet. You can also scratch your name and e-mail somewhere inside the phone. It will help the device to get back to you quickly even if it was stolen.
- Campus data breaches – safety in college can also be broken in other ways. For example there is always the risk that your educational institution’s networks or servers will suffer a data breach. Of course it can affect your personal data, which is undesirable. There’s little to no control that you have over this situation; however there’s one thing that you can do. If breach like this happens, you should change all your passwords. When doing so, you need to be in hurry. Don’t forget that you shouldn’t use the same passwords for multiple services.
While this list can’t protect you from every threat connected with privacy and security in the college, it will surely give you a great basis in understanding these matters.