Remote learning has become the norm for many college students all over the country. It was already growing in popularity over the last several years. But, the COVID-19 pandemic created a boom in remote learning to keep everyone safe.
Moving into a post-pandemic world, remote learning is here to stay for some. It’s extremely beneficial for those who need a flexible schedule or anyone who might be looking for a more affordable way to attend college.
But, for all of the benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks and risks. One of the biggest concerns for remote college students should be cybersecurity and knowing how to keep yourself safe online. While you might not have to deal with things like on-campus crime, cyber criminals can do just as much damage with your personal information.
Here’s what you can do to protect yourself from cybercrime as a remote college student.
Understand the Risks
Any time you submit personal information online, it can be a risk. Educate yourself ahead of time on your college’s cybersecurity program(s) and privacy policies.
A school’s cybersecurity priorities should include:
- Network monitoring
- Data monitoring
- Protective controls
- Network segmentation
- Password management
- Vulnerability scanning
If your college is offering remote learning opportunities, they should be upfront about the security measures they have in place. Their IT department should be available to work with you as often as possible, and it should be easily accessible.
You should also put some measures in place at home to keep yourself as safe as possible, especially if you’re giving out financial or medical information. Invest in security measures that medical services use, like antivirus software, and make sure you never give personal information to any school website that isn’t secure.
Keep Yourself Safe – Wherever You Are
One of the perks of being a remote student is that you can take classes anywhere. But, when you’re off-campus, you might not have a strong cybersecurity system in place to keep you safe from threats. It’s important to know what to look out for when it comes to those threats, so you can reduce your risk of an attack.
Some of the most common cyber threats are:
- Phishing emails
- Denial of service
- Malware programs
It’s also important to be aware of “man-in-the-middle” attacks. These occur when a perpetrator steps into a digital conversation, usually when you’re trying to get help. For example, if you’re having problems with a software program or website, you might see a chatbot pop up. A perpetrator can pose as someone offering to help you, but their main goal is to steal information. Be aware of red flags asking for too much information or things that aren’t relevant to the conversation.
Educating yourself on these threats (and others) can keep you from becoming a victim of viruses or having your personal information stolen.
The risk of cybersecurity threats shouldn’t keep you from taking college courses online. But, knowing that the risks are out there and how you can keep yourself safe from them is a crucial component in the success of your remote learning process.
BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.