Keeping hackers away from your tech

Tips for students to improve their cyber security

According to a 2012 report from Statistics Canada, almost 30 per cent of post-secondary students between the ages of 16 to 24 never clear their internet history.

This is a drop from 31 per cent in 2010, but there are still many browsers at risk of compromised confidential information.

There are many methods of improving your privacy on the internet that do not involve giving up your soul to the system.Emails tend to be an easy target for viruses. To avoid these, read your emails carefully as some may be fake companies posing as real ones.

“Phishing emails always have spelling mistakes, they cannot even spell the right authority’s name properly or they may not give the right logo of certain organizations,” said Jacky Min, computer technology professor and coordinator.

One thing that can endanger your password security is signing in to multiple websites with your Google account. Especially if it’s a public or shared computer.

“When you put in your username sometimes it already pre-populates,” said Kishan Ameerali, IT system support technician. Sometimes this saves your user profile on that website.

Unless you clear your browser history’s cache, anyone using the computer can potentially have access, and can do whatever they want with your information.

It might seem like lost time, spending those precious minutes signing in each day on each platform and service. But having passwords or even usernames saved in a browser will put you at risk of being hacked.

Having your passwords stored securely on a USB drive can help. You can even go one step further and have a print version locked up along with your passport and social security number.

What you put online is part of your identity, at least in terms of what employers see when they are thinking of hiring you. Background checks of applicants is a standard procedure companies do.

Even though they are more focused on criminal records, seeing inappropriate information on your file could cost you the job.

Treating your private information like it’s your birth certificate can help you understand what’s at stake.

People should be wary about online shopping and banking too, because if you’re on a public computer the login and virtual private network (VPN) is typically the same for everyone.

Another important tidbit to keep in mind is that many applications require you to accept their terms and conditions in order to use it.

“Look at an iTunes agreement, that thing is an essay! They do it so people don’t read through it. I would just try to do your due diligence,” Ameerali noted.

If you don’t want to read this seemingly never ending text at size eight font there are alternatives.

Ameerali added that when privacy concerns come up in these service agreements Google is a useful tool. Many forums found on websites like Reddit can provide you with some quick glimpses into what the contents of certain agreements are.

“If you are wary of something there’s probably a reason,” he said.

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Keeping hackers away from your tech