Students are not safe from attacks, especially that most of them are studying online. Hence, every student must have cyber security awareness.
In fall 2018, almost 7 million college students enrolled in at least one distance education course. Moreover, 3.2 million attended classes exclusively online. These figures are likely to skyrocket as schools shift to learning options during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are a student, you know that the Internet is not just for Zoom virtual classroom meetings. Students use the Internet every day for academic and recreational purposes. Thus, hackers see this as an opportunity to steal data. The risk is greater for students as statistics show that they are more likely to fall for fraud scams.
Importance of Cyber Security Awareness
CSO Online, a leading source of information for cybersecurity executives, reported some startling findings. According to their studies, the world loses $17,000 every minute due to phishing attacks.
Moreover, 94% of malware is delivered via email. CSO Online also find out that 60% of data breaches could have been avoided if an available security patch had been applied.
These figures just show that it’s a dangerous world out there. The methods that hackers use grow both in number and complexity. Unfortunately, it seems like the situation won’t get any safer. Hence, having cyber security awareness is a must, especially for students.
Best Cyber Security Practices for Students
Listed below are the most common cyber security mistakes that students commit and how to prevent them.
When You Don’t Vaccinate Your Computer And Mobile Phone
Hacking is no longer a question of “if”, but “when”. Everyone is a prime target. Follow these steps to vaccinate your tech against cybercrime.
- Device manufacturers regularly release security patches to protect your device. Thus, you must stop clicking the “Remind Me Later” button when your device asks you to update. Download and install updates as soon as they are available.
- Invest in reputable virus and spyware protection. Moreover, scan your computer at least once a week.
- Back up your data periodically to a cloud-based storage system and/or external hard drive. This allows you to recover from a data loss caused by a cyber attack.
When You Visit Unsecure or Torrent Websites
You might have noticed that some websites addressed begin “HTTP”, while others begin with “HTTPS”. That single letter makes a huge difference. HTTPS websites are secured as they encrypt user data. Meanwhile, unsecured HTTP sites allow hackers to view transferred information, like logins, in plain text format.
It is tempting to download content on torrent websites. While you can gain access to content at no cost on such sites, torrenting is not risk-free. It is best to follow these steps:
- Hackers use sophisticated replicas of login pages. Before logging in, make sure the web address is correct. Enter the site address on the URL instead of searching it on Google. Moreover, never submit sensitive information through an HTTP website.
- Keep in mind that your actions online can put other students at risk. Hence, you must be mindful of every step you take online.
- Resist the temptation to download the latest movies or the digital version of a book with torrent files. It isn’t worth putting your personal and financial data at risk.