Chances are you’ve had problems with malware or viruses in the past. You may have even had one of your social networking or email accounts compromised at some point.

The threat of cybercrime is very real and not as personal of an attack as some may think. It’s often a shot in the dark, with the least-protected people in the room becoming the victims. And these attacks can occur where we least expect it, including university email systems and through store-installed apps.

College makes us especially vulnerable because we often access our sensitive data over public networks. However, taking the necessary precautions can help protect online accounts and information from getting into the wrong hands.

To help you secure your accounts and activity, our friends at Malwarebytes have provided some safety tips just in time for the fall semester.

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Online Security Tips

  • Stop using simple passwords. Instead use a random string of letters, both upper and lower case, numbers and special characters (example: 2H*[email protected]).
  • Use a password manager: It will make your life easier so you don’t have to remember every single password you have. It is also safer because it will allow you to use more complex passwords. Try LastPass1Password or KeePass.
  • Update all software regularly: Don’t wait; these updates are there to protect you.
  • Enable two-factor authentication for your email and social networking accounts. (This means you will need to enter a password, but also have a second factor of authentication such as a code sent via SMS to your phone that acts as a one-time password.)
  • Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when logging into bank accounts and other sensitive sites.
  • Avoid entering sensitive data on your friends’ or public computers.
  • Password protect everything (computer, phone, tablet).
  • Don’t click on every link or open every attachment you are sent.
  • Seriously, read the dialogue boxes when you install software! If you do not read them, you run the risk of having unwanted programs downloaded onto your computer (or at the very least, know what is being put on your computer).
  • Scan all files you receive from fellow students or teachers using an anti-malware program.