7 Simple Tips and Tricks for Students to Get Better Online Privacy
The current COVID-1 pandemic has changed the entire education landscape as we have moved from actual to virtual. Therefore data privacy is a concern for both remote and on-campus employees. However, the problem is that students are not well aware of the risks that they face online, and most fall prey to cybercriminals and hackers.
There are a lot of online privacy concerns and cybersecurity threats faced by students. One of the biggest threats is sharing personal information on campus or public Wi-Fi because these are vulnerable to identity theft and malware attacks.
There are other online security concerns like cyberbullying and revenge porn.
Keeping these issues in mind, we bring you seven easy tips and tricks that you can use to protect your online privacy.
1. Use a VPN for school-related tasks
The best way to ensure your online privacy is to use a VPN for school-related tasks like logging on to university portals, emails, and more.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts your online data and passes it through a VPN tunnel which makes it impossible to track even by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
The best VPN for students is ExpressVPN, as it is not only powerful but also offers a free trial so you can use it free of cost. Learn more about ExpressVPN’s subscription under free trial and get started today!
Another important consideration is not to download illegal content off torrent sites or similar sources on your school laptop – because these are riddled with malware and spyware. If you still want to download torrents, we recommend using a VPN.
Also Read: IPVanish: Is It A VPN Worth Using?
2. Don’t log in to unsecured public networks
If you are out and use to access university portals or related information, don’t use public Wi-Fi offered by hotels and coffee shops. These public networks are not secure and have hundreds of users connected to the same network, and anyone can hack into your device, thus stealing your passwords. Therefore, make sure to use your home network for critical tasks.
If you are constantly on the move, then you can use a VPN to securely access public networks because it protects your traffic and reroutes it from a different server location. If you are using the internet on-campus, let’s say in New York, after connecting to the VPN, it will redirect your traffic to portray as you are accessing the internet from somewhere else (like France, Singapore, etc.) thus protecting your online privacy.
3. Use strong passwords
Make sure to set strong and unique passwords to your school-related accounts. Don’t use generic passwords like ‘Class123’ or ‘12345’ because these passwords can easily be guessed.
Your password should contain numbers, special characters, and letters. We also recommend using both upper and lower-case letters in your password.
You can also use a password manager and two-factor authentication for better security. With a password manager, you will only have to remember one password of the app itself. Similarly, two-factor authentication adds another layer of security, so when you are logging in, it sends a code to your mobile phone to get access.
4. Limit device backups
This must be new to you but every time you back up your phone or other devices, you are basically creating a second version of your data. Back-up is necessary in case you lose your data or want to upgrade your device, but each backup means more data that you need to protect.
If you want to backup your devices, then make sure to do it safely. There are a lot of risks associated with moving data to the cloud during backup. Therefore, make sure to consider all these risks when backing up data on the cloud.
5. Don’t click on emails and download links from unknown sources
First, make sure to create a separate email ID for personal and university use. Second, don’t click on emails and download links from unknown sources.
Criminals often capitalize on a crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic. They often mimic officials from a real company, and the email has a sense of urgency.
Therefore, make sure to only open emails from known sources. If you click on the link in phishing emails, it will automatically inject the virus into your system, thus compromising its security. Therefore the simple rule is “Never to open emails from unknown senders.”
6. Keep your system up to date
Make sure all your devices – laptops, mobile phones, and others are up to date, including updated software, apps, and antivirus software.
Don’t miss important updates by the manufacturer because they contain security patches and the latest protection details, which further protect you from online threats.
7. Check your bank statement regularly
If you frequently shop online, make sure to check your bank statements frequently to make sure all transactions are legitimate. Make it your habit.
Similarly, avoid shopping online and making transactions while using an on-campus network. If you still want to, you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to secure your online activities. Pay attention to websites that you are shopping from popular sites that are secure.
Students are no doubt tech-savvy, but unfortunately, they are not well equipped when it comes to online privacy. That is why, students with higher education fall prey to cybercriminals, as they are easy to exploit. Therefore, I have mentioned some easy steps that you can take today to secure your online privacy and protect yourself from threats. It will not only help students ensure physical but also mental health.