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Back to University: How to best protect your data when away from home

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

When it comes to going back to uni, there is so much to think about, keeping your data secure is probably the last thing on your mind. Panda security offers some top tips to help you stay secure while you study.

Leaving home to live away at university can be a daunting prospect for some young adults. Especially entering second year when the protection and comfort of student halls isn’t so evident.

Sharing your personal information to set up bank accounts for shared flat or house bills, personal belongings insurance and everything in between can be an overload to the system with unfamiliar formats. These valuable data points can be extremely useful to would be thieves. 

Once these criminals have collated enough information, they can start stealing your identity or making purchases on your behalf.

It’s common for nefarious communities to take advantage of this naivety or unwillingness to challenge what you believe to be a credible organisation when you see money coming out your account. This delay in action is what gives them power.

There are a few ways that you can protect yourself from being caught out by clever cons:

  1. Avoid typing in personal information (e.g. name, address, bank details, email or phone number) whilst on a public network in a coffee shop or elsewhere without a protected Wi-Fi password. Thieves can imitate these systems to draw you onto their personal servers. A university library Wi-Fi is usually very secure. 
  2. Always double or triple check the validity of the site you’re entering your details into. One example is whether or not the website begins in HTTP or not. HTTPS websites are the most secure.
  3. Keep your computer up-to-date with a high level of anti-virus software. Programs like Panda Security can be extremely useful at letting you know whether suspicious software has infected your computer.
  4. Phishing is a technique hackers use by sending what look like real emails from companies to coax sensitive information from you. It can be very effective if you see it come from the Student Loans Company or another educational organisation that seems innocent.
  5. Try to keep paper bills that are delivered to your house to a minimum (protecting the environment) to minimise the risk of thieves going through your rubbish. If you can’t change these to electronic bills, make sure you shred them before putting them in the bin.

Take the same level of precautions you would whilst out in the real world, online. Common sense is one of your greatest weapons and protecting yourself with the right tools is vital when it comes to online fraud and protecting your devices.

For more information about Panda and students’ guide to cybersecurity, click here.

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