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Your coursework: for your eyes only

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According to statistics, the student campus is one of the most vulnerable locations in terms of cybersecurity. Follow our recommendations and you won’t fall victim to dishonest neighbors or your own carelessness.

The student dorm: usually a densely populated place where each occupant has at least one computer or some other device capable of connecting to the Internet. And all sorts of files – lecture texts, music, videos, presentations and lots of other information – are constantly migrating back and forth between them. All this stuff is moving around the network and on a variety of removable storage media. Of course, it would come as no surprise if your computer was to end up with some malicious program in all that Brownian motion. So here are some tips on how to avoid a nasty infection.

Do not connect to unknown networks! Find a Wi-Fi connection that’s not password-protected may seem great at first. After all, it means not paying for the Internet. However, where’s the guarantee that the network doesn’t belong to some joker or fraudster who will happily intercept your data when you make your next online payment? Nor should you trust the local wired network because it may be crawling with viruses wandering from computer to computer. At the very least, use a VPN connection.

Get you own Internet. Almost all the latest smartphones can be used as Wi-Fi hotspots. This is a pretty secure connection which makes it almost impossible to end up on a replacement network. If your smartphone can’t do this, buy a USB modem or a mobile wireless router. Fortunately, these devices are not expensive and some providers even offer them for free when buying a contract.

Do not use your accounts on other people’s computers. It’s best not to sign into social networking sites or to make purchases using someone else’s device. They may be infected with a Trojan keylogger which will save your credentials and send them to a cybercriminal. If possible, all your accounts on the Internet should be set to two-factor authentication.

Get a guest account. Someone is bound to urgently need your computer for some reason or other. Why not help him/her? But let him do so from a guest account with restricted privileges that don’t allow the installation of any programs or to download anything without your permission, or to change your computer settings. Parental control is most desirable as it lets you restrict the activities of excessively curious people, not just kids.

Always treat your valuable files carefully. Your coursework, presentations, lectures, all your personal and other valuable data should be stored on a dedicated removable media. Ensure this information is regularly backed up. You should not use this USB stick to store anything you have to share with your friends. For this purpose use a dedicated USB flash drive and always perform an antivirus check.

Don’t forget to always use an antivirus program. Despite everything said above, an experienced cybercriminal will always find a loophole to your files. Therefore, the best barrier is a reliable antivirus solution.


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