What can students do?

Educate Yourself

Basic Cybersecurity and Online Safety

  • Pack it up: Take your laptop with you, even if you intend to be right back. Unattended laptops in public places such as the library, study lounge, and coffee shops are an invitation for theft or unwanted access to your information. 
  • Protect your passwords: If you need to write them down, keep them in a secure location away from your computer. Don’t keep any passwords in your laptop case or on a piece of paper stuck to the laptop. Never share your passwords with anyone. 
  • Use different passwords for all online accounts: Secure passwords are long and complex (are at least 9 characters, include numbers and symbols, are NOT single words, pet names, birthdays, etc). 
  • Back up your computer files: Computers can be compromised, stolen, or destroyed in an accident or natural disaster. Make electronic copies of your files regularly so you don’t lose important assignments, cherished music, or photos. Keep backed up files in a safe, secure location away from your computer. Consider using an online service. 
  • Use caution on wireless networks: Be careful which sites or services you access when using public wireless networks. Even if they’re secure (i.e. require a password), you never know who else is using the network. 
  • Secure your own wireless networks: If you have your own wireless network, secure access by requiring a long, complex password. Change the password frequently, such as at the beginning of each term. 
  • Be sure your personal laptop or computer has the security software tools you need: anti-spyware, anti-virus, and a firewall, all set to update automatically. Keep your operating system and Web browser up-to-date as well. 
  • Be cautious when using public computers, such as those in hotels or computer labs. Don’t visit sites that require personal information, such as your bank’s Web site, and be sure to log off when you’re done. 
  • Turn your computer off when it’s not in use: This saves electricity, preserves your laptop battery, and protects you from hackers that try to access your information through wireless networks.