Student and Graduate Publishing

Staying Safe Online

Thursday, 07 September 2017 10:50

After recent news emerging about students at the Newcastle University falling victim to a recent cyber scam, now is a great time to learn a few tricks for staying safe online. Many students are preparing to take the next step and starting university in September. Being aware of how to stay safe is a valuable lesson for everyone, particularly those who are about to leave fly the nest and live on their own for the first time. If this applies to you, don’t panic, we have some handy tips for you to stay safe and avoid scams like this. 

Do not make your password ‘password’.
This seems like a very obvious statement but it’s surprising the number of people who do this or use equally simple passwords. Complex passwords are the way forward and upon starting uni, you will find that you suddenly have numerous accounts for lots of different things. It’s tempting to use the same password for everything but this is one of the easiest ways for hackers to get to you. TrueKey https://www.truekey.com/  is a good password manager that stores all your passwords for every account you have so all you need to remember is the password for that! 

Use a good firewall.
Firewalls are an electronic barrier used to block unauthorised access to all your devices. This is one of the easiest ways to stop hackers from accessing your computer or laptop. Living in halls it is vital that you are aware of and protected against this. Students in halls will share a communal Wi-Fi, meaning if the hacker is on the same system it is scarily easily for them to get into your computer. Another important point is to make sure your software is up to date. It can be incredibly tempting to click ‘update later’ but we are all guilty of procrastination. Updating software regularly means that security software has all the newest patches. 

Always be on the lookout for the latest scams.
Follow a site like Action Fraud or Get Safe Online to stay up to date with any scams that they have been made aware. Don’t be afraid to inform people of anything suspicious that you have come across. Word of mouth is incredibly important in staying safe, because hackers are constantly changing their tactic. If you become aware of a scam that is targeting university students – share this with your housemates or post on your university’s Facebook page to keep everyone else safe.  

Do not put too much personal info online.
You don’t need to check in every time you go somewhere new, or activate a location when sharing photos. It isn’t important to have your phone number online – the people who need it will have it. Make sure your social media profiles are set to private so only your friends can see what you post. You’ve probably heard all of this before and are rolling your eyes as you read this, but it’s one of the most overlooked things when it comes to cyber-security. Living on your own for the first time is scary enough – don’t let hackers or scammers add to that fear. Stay safe online. 

-By Kym Darragh
            https://www.facebook.com/kym.darraghlee
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