At university, you’ll be using the internet every single day. This is why it’s important that you know how you can stay safe when browsing online.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of seven tips you can use to prevent cybercrime:
- know the risks: only access trustworthy pages and documents
- keep your devices and software updated
- keep your passwords safe
- back up your data
- be aware of new software
- be smart when using email
- look out for suspicious websites
- staying safe on social media
1. Know the risks: only access trustworthy pages and documents
The first step to avoiding cybercrime is to be aware of the online world. New websites and software are added to the internet every day, so you should only use web pages, apps and communications (like emails) from businesses or people that you trust.
2. Keep your devices and software updated
It’s a good idea to update your apps and software (like mobiles and computer operating systems) whenever there’s a new version available. This makes it much harder for viruses to infect your devices.
Keep up with new technology and be aware of the risks so that every time you use the internet, you’re a lot safer.
3. Keep your passwords safe
On most sites or devices we use, there’s a password we have to remember. It’s easy to use the same one for each account but this isn’t a safe way of using technology.
Instead, have different passwords for each online account. If you can’t remember which one to use, keep them in a diary for easy access and store this diary in a safe location.
Here are more tips on how to keep your passwords safe:
- make a strong email password. This makes it more difficult for people to guess. The strongest ones are a mixture of numbers and letters
- only use password managers for less important accounts. A password manager is a piece of software that stores passwords
- regularly update your passwords. This ensures that it’s even more difficult for people to guess what your password is
4. Back up your data
Remember to back up all your data - for example, by making copies of your data and moving them to an external hard drive.
This is really important if you’re working on university projects. Remember to make copies and you won’t lose all your hard work!
If you’ve followed all the advice in this blog, it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter any cybercrime. However, it’s still a good idea to back up all of your data. This is because if your device is somehow infected by a software virus or accessed by a hacker, your data could be at risk.
5. Be aware of new software
Before downloading an application or software, make sure that the place you’re downloading it from can be trusted. This ensures you can get a reliable piece of valuable software and keep your peace of mind. Untrustworthy sites can contain viruses that can damage your device or steal your data and no one wants that.
Ask yourselves a few questions before you visit a new site. Do they have a proper website? Do they have customer reviews? Are they listed by any other websites? Do they have a proper social media presence? By asking these questions, you can make sure the technology you download is coming from a trusted source.
6. Be smart when using email
Suspicious emails can be common. There are a number of tips you can follow to make sure your email accounts are secure:
- use two-step authentication (authentication security that requires two pieces of information to access your profiles or data) on all of your email accounts. This provides an extra layer of security
- computer viruses spread through email attachments, so make sure you don’t click on an attachment from someone you don’t trust
- stay aware of email scams. This means if someone asks for your bank details or money through email, don’t give them any information. Look out for bad spelling, odd grammar and requests for personal information. These are signs that it may be an email scam
7. Look out for suspicious websites
Some websites seem legitimate but could be a threat to your security. These websites can try to collect sensitive information from you such as login details, passwords and bank details.
Here are a few things to look out for when visiting a new website:
- spelling and grammar errors
- no valid contact information
- secure sites will have a padlock on the left side of the website address bar
- has the site requested you to pay by bank transfer?
- does the site have a valid returns policy?
Looking for these things on a new website is a good way of avoiding cybercrime among students. However, if you think you’ve visited a suspicious site, it’s a good idea to scan your computer with an antivirus program. You should also check your bank account for any suspicious transactions that you can’t explain.
8. Staying safe on social media
Social media apps are the ones that students usually spend the most time on. The first thing to do when using social media is to never share your personal or bank details. Sign up to social media accounts by using a separate email address to your main one.
When connecting with other social media users, make sure you trust their profiles. It’s easy to come across fake profiles that might send you a suspicious link. If this happens, never click on the link as it could end up giving you a virus.
Getting hacked is rare, especially if you’ve taken all of the above precautions to protect yourself. But it can still happen. That’s why it’s important to follow steps like the ones we’ve covered in the blog above. However, there are a few other things you need to know to stay even safer…
Staying safe online is easier than you think and our guide covers it all…
It’s easier than ever to stay secure when using the internet and your devices.
We’ve created an informative and easy-to-use safety guide for students at university and need some helpful tips on why the UK is one of the safest places to study abroad.
Click the link below for your free downloadable guide.