Many students do not realize the importance of securing their information when searching the internet. Because many students do not have wireless internet in their apartments or dorms they rely on using the internet on campus, at cafes or coffee shops, and really anywhere else they can connect to a signal. When using public internet access, it is important to know that internet privacy is not guaranteed. There are some things to keep in mind that students can do to help protect their information on their computers when they are connected to the internet.
Identity fraud is one of the biggest threats people face when on the internet. Identity theft occurs when someone steals personal information, which can include social security numbers and/or credit card information, to use illegally. Being a victim of identity theft can ruin your credit, cost you money, and can be extremely frustrating and stressful, as you do not know what other types of damage this can cause you in the future. The Home of the National Consumers League’s Fraud Center informs internet users of ways to help prevent internet fraud.
Security and privacy settings are often overlooked when it comes to online privacy. Managing security and privacy settings is quick and easy but needs to be done each time a new browser, program, or site is accessed. Configuring privacy and security settings on your browser will help eliminate prowling eyes and access to your identifiable information. In addition, always be sure to edit privacy settings when on social networking sites, and sites that have your personal information on them.
Passwords are very important when trying to safeguard school, personal, and financial information on the internet. Choosing strong passwords can help protect your information and fight against other people having access to your online accounts. When coming up with passwords try not to use common names, numbers in sequential order, a pet name, or a date of birth. Such passwords are easy to crack and online hackers are known to try easy passwords to gain access to information that does not belong to them. Be sure to choose a password that you’ll remember, but that is not so easy that other people can guess it.
Logging out of websites and accounts is also very important when it comes to online safety. Keeping yourself logged into credit card, bank, and any other online accounts can make it easy for people to access your accounts. This is especially true if you access your accounts from shared computers such as in a library, computer lab, or any other computer that other people may use. Just closing out the page will not log you out of the account and may be potentially dangerous for privacy reasons. Either way, try to make it a habit to log out and then close pages, whether you are using your own computer or a shared computer.
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