What can students do?
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,
- 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
- 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
- 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.