While in school, it is important to keep your classwork and personal documents saved on your laptops, computers, tablets, and phones safe. The months of August-October are cybercriminal’s prime time for partaking in their hacking skills, and who is their main target? The answer is YOU; a student in higher education.
As a daughter of a parent in the IT department, I felt the need to pass along some important information that could save people from their troubles.
With that being said, here are are few things that you can do to prevent getting hacked.
Create passwords using two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication, otherwise known as ‘2FA’ or ‘two-step verification’, is an extra coat of security that requires not only a password, but a piece of information that only the actual user would know or have. This secures your account 100%, because even if the hacker knows your password, they will not be able to provide the second factor. It is a simple process that takes seconds that can truly save your email, bank account, or twitter account from being hacked.
Create passwords using acronyms.
Creating your passwords using acronyms instead of words is a great way to protect your passwords from others. For example, instead of making your password ‘ILoveOKStateCowboys90‘, make your password ‘ILOKSC90’. Hackers might be able to track your location, so if they see that you go to Oklahoma State, they might try passwords such as ‘ILoveOKState’ or ‘ILoveOSU’, but if you use acronyms instead of sentences, the hacker will most likely have a more difficult time guessing your password.
Avoid connecting to free wifi.
I know that free wifi is one of the greatest things on the planet, and the idea of not using it seems terrible, but open Wi-Fi hotspots have the possibility of being encrypted by hackers. This means that when you join a free Wi-Fi network, it could be ran by a hacker that can now view all of your information on the device you are using. The best way to resolve this issue is by using a personal virtual private network (VPN). A VPN is basically your own personal Wi-Fi hotspot owned and ran by you. Most companies sell VPN’s to be used for homes, but some companies also sell VPN’s that can be used by plugging a small device into your laptop through the USB port.
- Secure all of your devices and online accounts, not just the ones you use most often.
- Keep your devices by your side or locked away at all times. Do not forget that hackers can also physically steal!
- Do not use the same passwords for everything.
If you have any further questions about how to prevent from being hacked, the ConocoPhillips IT Department advises you to visit StopThinkConnect.org.