Starting a new year at college can be a stressful time. Getting used to new schedules, adjusting to the increased workload after that long summer break and trying to make time to attend all those college parties can be so hectic that it can be easy to forget about actually keeping your work safe. However, not educating yourself about cyber security could be the biggest mistake you make this academic year.
By becoming cyber aware, you could save your work from the clutches of a cyber-criminal or a computer melt down. That's why we've come up with three top cyber security tips to help you out this college year.
It may easily slip your mind when you're finishing off an essay and preparing to head out with friends but do not rely fully on your desktop to save your work. Your computer can fail at any time, and if you haven't saved your work elsewhere, the outcome could be catastrophic.
Any work you have created for school, university or even your own personal files should all be backed up to the cloud, shared drive or another reliable device. You should back these files up regularly so you always have a recent copy, if the worst were to happen. Check out one of our recent blogs for more information on the best ways to back up your work.
It may be tempting and perhaps somewhat impossible to avoid for some students, but if there's a free WIFI network that you can access easily without a password, it probably isn't encrypted. This means anything you do while connected to that network can be seen by anyone, and more worryingly - a potential hacker. Many cyber criminals gain access to information through public WIFI networks, so if you're logging onto personal accounts on university systems, remember that someone could be keeping track of your passwords and details.
Only connect to networks that are secure.
If you're working in the library and have to leave your computer, make sure you save all your work and lock your computer so that no one else can gain access. If you walk away with your computer still logged in someone could accidentally or intentionally delete your files, or even steal them. They could also gain access to any cached accounts you have logged into using that computer.
You should also consider password protecting your work, for that extra layer of cyber security. If you're using Microsoft SharePoint, One Drive or Dropbox for example to store your work, you will have a login and password to gain access to your account so even if someone did gain access to your computer, they would also need your cloud account password to access to your personal documents or work. For any big important projects, you are working on, you can also encrypt your files by following the steps below:
1. Select the file or folder you want to encrypt
2. Right-click the file or folder and select Properties
3. On the General tab, click the Advanced button
4. Check the box for the "Encrypt contents to secure data" option
5. Click Apply and then OK.
Want to create a strong password but don’t know where to start? Read our blog here for some more top tips.
Did you find these tips useful? What are your biggest cyber concerns this college year?