Allison here, with AllClear ID. School is back in session in a few weeks, and whether you are freshman just starting your college career, or a senior ready to finish up and graduate, computer and online safety is something that effects all college students. It could be tough to think about among the classes, the tests, and the social gatherings, but all it takes is one virus or hacker to steal your identity and give you one more thing to worry about. Here are four computer and online safety tips for college students:

  1. Be Protective of Your Personal Belongings – Laptops get stolen. Roommates aren’t always the nicest or most trustworthy of those closest to you. Don’t leave belongings that have personal and valuable information lying around, even if it seems okay or that no one is around. Purchasing a computer lock and creating a strong password for a login will make is harder for someone to steal your things or to have a little fun with your Facebook status updates when you’re not looking.
  2. Share Selectively – College is a hive of social activity where you are meeting tons of new people daily and trying out tons of new things. It could be tempting to post a lot of information online, or to talk about things over the Internet with your new friends. However, exercise some caution when creating your social media profiles and chatting online. These are places where unauthorized eyes could see this information, and easily pick up something that could be used to harm you. Avoid giving away your address, revealing the make/model of your car, or discussing your exact location on campus.
  3. Check Your Wireless Connections – Although the connection on campus could be secure, that might not be the case if you decide to study at a coffee shop off-campus or at your friend’s apartment. If you’re using the Internet in locations where the wireless connection may not be secure, then it’s not a good time to purchase your textbooks or to have your parents wire you money. An unsecure network connection makes it easy for an identity thief to get your financial information. Save those activities for the dorm room.
  4. Install Online Security Solutions on Your Devices – Don’t wait until your hard drive crashes or until you do have a virus before doing something about it. It could be easy to forget purchasing an online security solution when you need textbooks and word processing software. However, by having these programs on your computer, tablet, and smartphone from the get-go, you’ll be better protected against cyber threats. Make sure to update these programs regularly so you are protected against the latest malware and viruses.

College is an exciting time, but college students aren’t any less vulnerable than anyone else out there. Safety in college is much more than walking with a partner at night and locking your doors. Nowadays, it involves computer and online safety as well.