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5 Tips to Stay Cyber Safe during Back-to-School Season

5 Tips to Stay Cyber Safe during Back-to-School Season

It’s the start of a new school year. Parents are scrambling to buy school supplies, move their children into dorm rooms, and master the art of the morning routine. Increasingly, technology and new devices are a growing part of the back-to-school rush. Many students, even those in elementary school, are required to work with Chromebooks or other devices as part of their school day. With so many new beginnings, teaching and refreshing basic cybersecurity practices can be forgotten. With more devices, more networks, and more connections, the risk of online danger is significant. Here are five tips to keep you and your family cybercafé during the back-to-school season and beyond:

1) New Year = New Passwords: Change your passwords to access devices and accounts. Use a unique password for every website or app that directly connects to your banking information or personal data. Whenever available, use multifactor authentication for an added layer of security.

2) Update programs and browsers: Many of the most popular programs have automated updates. Never turn these updates off and take the time to complete them whenever reminded. Updates patch vulnerabilities and gaps in security. Consider these updates free fixes and a last line of defense against known cyber threats.

3) Think, then click: The new school year brings a deluge of emails. Don’t get complacent when checking emails. Be particularly careful clicking shortened links or opening attachments. Watch for the signs of phishing. When in doubt, don’t click.

4) Lock it up: Sharing dorm rooms and classrooms opens your device and your data to more risks. Always lock your devices. The couple of extra seconds to unlock a device is worth your privacy. If you are sharing living space with others, remember to keep confidential documents with your identifying information, like social security numbers, under lock and key.

5) Invest in anti-virus: The saying “You get what you pay for,” often holds true for anti-virus software. Freeware is a start but it isn’t updated as regularly and can leave you at risk for infection. The investment for basic anti-virus protection is miniscule compared to the financial devastation of identity theft or data loss from malware.

Follow these simple tips today to stay cyber safe as school resumes. It’s never too early to talk to children about keeping private information private and using technology responsibly. In addition to general threats to cybersecurity, the back-to-school hustle and bustle can also result in physical damage to hard drives during moves or unexpected drive failures at the 11th hour before your term paper is due. If you’ve encountered data loss, submit an Online Help form today or call us at 1-800-388-1266.

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