Internet safety for college students

Niraj Dubey
Corporations invest billions into protecting private data. Globally, the cybersecurity services market brought in $173 billion in 2020. However, cybersecurity isn’t only a concern for government agencies and major corporations. Hackers and scammers also target individuals, including college students. Fortunately, college students can protect their private data and improve their internet safety without a corporate-sized budget.
Why is cybersecurity awareness important?
College students need to prioritize cybersecurity awareness. By taking a few simple steps, students can protect their private data and decrease the chances of falling for a phishing scam, putting private information at risk, or becoming the victim of identity theft. Hackers target college students because of their unique vulnerabilities. For example, scammers focus on college students because of their social media use, lax monitoring, and poor cybersecurity awareness. College students, like everyone else, worry about data theft. They often fail to follow safety practices to secure their information. Many simply see data breaches and cyber attacks as an unavoidable fact of modern life.
Common online threats towards college students:
College students face many of the same online threats as the general public, including phishing scams and fraudulent shopping sites. However, certain scams target college students. The basic common online threats that college students face.
A phishing scam tricks people into revealing private data or downloading malware. Many criminals target colleges with phishing scams because college email addresses often follow a predictable format that includes the student’s name. Students might receive emails that look official and ask them to confirm personal data or messages claiming they won a prize or lottery and must click on a link to claim their prize. These scams harm millions of victims every year.
Fake shopping sites trick students into entering their personal information, including credit card numbers. And fraudulent shopping sites target more than your data. Some send products that may be unsafe.
College students are vulnerable to fake shopping sites because these criminals target students. Fake sites might be advertised on social media that targets students. These sites often look legitimate because they steal product photos to imitate real online shopping sites.
College students invest a lot of time into looking for jobs. But criminals use fraudulent job postings to capture private information. These job scams convince students to enter their Social Security number and other data. Some scammers even reach out with unsolicited job or interview offers. However, these scams are actually phishing attempts disguised as job postings.
Social media and dating website fraud can trick students into providing personal information or sending strangers money. Romance frauds hook students through cat-fishing, where scammers pretend to be someone else online. These scammers may spend weeks or months building an online relationship with college students before asking for money or personal information. Students can protect themselves from romance fraud by limiting the information on their profile and using a throwaway email address.
Remedial measures
* If you identify a cybersecurity threat, report it to your college – IT department or information security office. What if you fall for a scam or criminals steal your identity? You can protect yourself in several ways. First, report cybercrimes to law enforcement. Filing a police report can also help you recover money and protect your identity. Second, notify your financial institutions and freeze your accounts. Your bank can help you cancel your credit cards or take additional steps. Students in online learning environments must protect themselves against threats like cyber-bullying, ransomware, phishing, and other threats to their internet safety. College students taking online classes should avoid sharing personal information or other forms of student data to protect themselves from identity theft and other cybercrimes. College students can take simple steps to avoid hackers and protect their privacy. A) Do not share their social security number, E-mail id, birth date & credit card number with any stranger.
Students can avoid phishing scams by looking for red flags, including incorrect grammar or spelling, fake-looking URL or email addresses, or high-pressure attempts to convince readers to click on a link. And phishing goes beyond email–watch out for phishing attacks on social media, by phone, and through text message.
Students need to update their Anti-Virus frequently, because latest anti-virus can more efficiently identifies – malware & other viruses and protect your devices from common online threats.
Strong password & 2-Factor authentication mechanisms are the other effective tools to prevent any type of social engineering attacks.
Beware of Unsecured Wi-Fi’s – because they can be the soft target for any scammers. Students must enable Firewall & VPN protection mechanisms to protect their computers, mobile phone and other gadgets from cyber attackers & hackers. The author likes to conclude this article by this informative quote, “Cyber-Security is much more than a matter of IT. Passwords are like underwear: don’t let people see it, change it very often, and you shouldn’t share it with strangers.”
(The author is a Cyber Passionate)