While the world is turning more to remote learning, there are a ton of benefits. The biggest one is the convenience factor. Studying on your own time and in your own space has real advantages. But, one thing you may not consider is privacy issues, especially if you travel to a park or coffee shop to study.
Safety is a priority because thieves like to have the upper hand. Don’t let them — try these strategies instead.
Keep Your Security Software Up-to-Date
One of the most important ways to protect your private information is to keep your computer’s software up-to-date. Maybe you’re using a free copy or an outdated, limited version of your original software. Before starting school, invest in a solid antivirus program. Get one that covers:
- Malware scan
- Virus detection
- Behavior-based (changes) notification
- Phishing protection
- Firewall security device
These are all vital components of a good security software program. Because personal information traces back to your original account, your social security and bank account information is vulnerable to thieves.
Having a solid working security package in place adds more protection.
Avoid Online Shopping Remotely
When visiting a nearby internet cafe or park, your mind isn’t always focused on studies. A little retail therapy may creep in. Don’t be tempted. Many thieves could tap into your non-secure internet connection — this is where they make their move.
When using a credit card online, be sure to use a safe and secure connection. As you start to enter your credit card information, someone can quickly grab it. Before you even know it, they’ve maxed your credit limit out.
Set Up Two-step Authentication
This is one of those things you may typically skip when signing up for a new account of any type online. It may actually save you from someone hacking your account. When signing up, check the two-step authentication. This means the server will send you a text or phone call informing you of a login attempt. You may have to enter a code. While this may seem like a hassle, it could save you from identity theft.
Check for Phishing Sites
Cybercrimes are on the rise. Over 300 million people were impacted by cyber breaches last year alone. Scammers’ tricks evolve daily as they scheme to outsmart consumers. One way they do so is by creating duplicate websites or emails of companies and businesses. Some are so real; they fool people into purchasing items and leaving behind personal information and passwords. Watch out for them. Look for:
- Several misspelled words
- Links that have odd URL addresses
- Words like urgent or messages informing you your account was hacked
- A request for personal information
It’s always wise to double-check URLs and emails related to your school or financial aid department.
Remote learning has several advantages and perks. While it’s a great way to quickly learn and complete a degree, use care when accessing school info online. Thieves try to be a step ahead, but you can reverse that role. If in doubt, call your school office and ask them to verify your questions. Now comes the fun part. Getting back to learning!