With the school year well underway now, most students are focused on using cyberspace for projects, making some headway and achieving grades, and of course, socializing on Social Media. At the same time, they also need to be aware, staying up to date on phishing schemes, safe computing practices to guard data and sensitive information. Whether they are in elementary, high school, or college, today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce.
It’s an uncertain world out there in Cyberspace. Here at iStratus, we’d like to share some tips with the students in your life.
From malware and scams to cyberbullying, it can be a vicious cycle of events. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to keep you, your kids, and your devices protected from the latest threats:
Keep Software Up-To-Date
We almost feel like a broken record, however, keep the operating system, browser software, and apps fully updated with patches. Even new machines can have out-of-date software that leaves you at risk. Operating systems and applications are constantly being updated to fix bugs and address security issues. You should use automatic updates to ensure you’re using the most secure version of the software that is available. Also, review the privacy settings — when an app is updated, it may change your settings!
Practice Safe Computer Usage
Use trusted apps and only browse to trusted websites. Malware is often hidden in apps that trick you into downloading them or in fake websites that lure you in with interesting pictures or stories! Make sure everyone who uses the device takes the same precautions.
Malware Protection, It Does What It Says: Protects YOU
To put it simply, set your devices to update automatically and run virus scans at least once a week. Let’s not forget malware is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems.
Malware today has become increasingly sophisticated and can evade antivirus software installing Ad and script-blocking browser plugins will help.
Most Internet and device security offer parental controls, which are great for managing applications that can be downloaded and the time spent on the device, whilst students are communicating with friends on social networks in a safe way. Enable security settings on devices, and as any software or apps are installed. Pay particular attention to information sharing options and be sure to verify your firewall to protect your information.
Think Twice Before Sharing
It’s easy to get excited and overshare online. Be aware of divulging personal information on Social Media Platforms – such as school names, team names, and key interests which reveal particular details inadvertently.
Be a Savvy Network User
In this day and age, this might seem like we’re stating the absolute obvious, however, reminders don’t hurt.
Try not to access personal or financial information over unsecured public WiFi networks such as the “free WiFi” in coffee shops, bookstores, hotels, and schools, as this data can be easily intercepted and viewed by unauthorized people. Instead, consider using your smartphone’s more secure cellular signal or “hotspot” to surf online and take care of business.
Stay on Guard
For students, there’s a general lack of privacy and personal space at school. Whether it’s a shared living space, crowded workspace, or the typically communal environment of a college campus, they’re continuously exposing their devices, leaving them vulnerable to access by others.
The most important thing to remember or remind your kids of is to be aware of their surroundings. Be vigilant in keeping computing devices with you or locked in a safe and secure place.
Avoid Jailbreaking Your Devices!
Jailbreaking devices relate to gaining “root” access to it, which means disabling the manufacturer and operating system protections so there is access to functions, not originally intended to have access to.
This access may allow greater functionality, on the same hand, however, it also reduces the security of devices, making them more susceptible to infectious malware.
In addition, Jailbreaking devices essentially render them at greater risk of getting hacked, and malicious apps which phisher sensitive information disclosure.
Frequently Backup Data
Given the growing risk of malware/virus infections known as “Ransomware,” iStratus recommends saving important data often. By definition, Ransomware holds a person’s files “hostage” until the victim recompenses the hacker.
It is most practical to backup regularly, using both a physical storage device such as a USB flash drive, external hard drive or a cloud-based account, like iStratus uses to protect your files.
“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”
~ Richard Feynman (1918 – 1988)
Bottom line, as we always say, we want you to stay safe out there on devices significantly central to our world.