No matter if you are in college, or out of college, computer security should be a top priority. These days, hackers are seemingly getting into personal computer systems with ease akin to opening a door that is already ajar. When you are a college student, computer security is especially important, because you will be using the computer on a regular basis and you don’t want a breach to interfere with your ability to get work done. If you are taking an online course, like USC’s online GIS certificate program, you don’t want a breach to get in the way of your ability to log in and complete assignments, and take tests. From the type of computer you purchase to the programs you have on your personal computing device, there are a number of ways to make sure your system is safe. It takes a little proactive monitoring and precaution, but it is all worth it. Here are four important computer security tips for college students.
- Always Update Your Software
If you haven’t updated the software on your computer, you may want to do it now. Updating your software is the best way to keep hackers out of your mainframe. When you have an old platform on your computer, it is rife with vulnerabilities – mainly because the security blocks are now on the updated version. Plus, hackers look for outdated platforms when trying to break into computers.
- Use an Encryption Service
When you write emails, or do anything on your computer, hackers can actually see all of that information. If someone is actively searching, this information is actually not hard to find. You may think that there is a thick wall between your private emails and the outside world, but there actually isn’t. This is why you want to encrypt everything that passes through and out of your system. With an encryption service, your passwords, security information, financial records and emails will all be jumbled and impossible to read. The last thing you want is for your private records to get out – a leaked email or two wouldn’t be that damaging, but a password or credit card number would be.
- Change Your Password Regularly
Speaking of passwords, it is now recommended to change your password on a weekly basis. When changing your password, you don’t want it to be obvious. Ideally, you want your password to be impossible to decipher – it should have multiple characters, capital letters and a few numbers. You can put the password on an index card so that you don’t forget it. You don’t want to have your password anywhere on your computer, because it may get hacked.
- Purchase a Secure Computer
When you are choosing a computer for college, you want to research how secure a certain computer is. Whether you are attending Northwestern University or Harvard, you want a computer that is impossible to hack into. Ideally, you want to get a Macintosh, because they are impervious to viruses. In the end, though, you can do some research to find something may fit better in your price range.