How to Help Students Protect Themselves from Online Threats

Online threats are a growing concern for students and parents. The internet is full of dangers, but it’s not always easy to know what they are or how to protect yourself from them.We’re here to help! Our blog post will teach you about the most common online threats, and show you how to stay safe on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Most Common Online Threats

The most common online threats are through malicious software or ransomware. Either of these can give someone else access to your files and information. They can also prevent you from accessing them, and this is often what they demand in return: money.

Other common online threats include:

  • Phishing: Someone pretending to be a reputable source in order to get private information like passwords or credit card numbers.
  • Domain spoofing: When a website is counterfeited and made to look legitimate to steal information.
  • Identity theft: Taking personal information without permission.
  • Scams: False advertising or offers for products, services, investments, or employment to get money from those it targets.

How Do I Stay Safe Online?

The best way to stay safe online is to be aware of what’s going on around you. This means thinking before you click on any links or open any files that come your way via email, text message, or other platforms. It also means avoiding downloading suspicious software unless it comes from a trusted source.

When it doubt, don’t click! If something looks strange, trust your gut and do not interact with it.

Another important practice is to install anti-virus software on all devices that lets you browse the internet. Some websites offer safe surfing options that can help too.

Also be sure to read through privacy policies for any accounts or apps that you use so you know how private your information really is. You can find these by clicking “Settings” and then “Privacy” on any social media platform. This will show you how your personal information is shared and used by the company and third-parties.

Ask Your Students to Implement These Methods

Colleges and schools should encourage their students to follow these tips:

Think Before Clicking a Link

If you aren’t sure where a link leads, don’t click it! Gimmicks and sales pitches are everywhere, but there’s a way to identify them: if something appears too good to be true, it most likely is. Consider the most recent Twitter fraud, in which scammers promise to pay people $2,000 in return for $1,000!

Change Password Frequently

Change passwords frequently when using school resources. Every few weeks is sufficient. To make it easy for yourself, you can use a password manager . These are online tools that create and manage passwords for you so you don’t have to remember them all.

Use Strong Passwords

A strong password has at least eight characters that contains both numbers and letters. It should not be based on personally identifiable information like your address or phone number, and should include at least one uppercase letter.

Keep OS and Software Up-to-Date

Keeping your operating system (OS) update to date is important for both personal devices and school computers.

This ensures the computer has all of the latest security features in place. Updates can be turned on in the system preferences.

Use Separated Credentials for School and Personal Accounts

Never use personal information for school accounts. This could lead to a compromised account if your social media is hacked.

Also do not share passwords between accounts or devices, as this can be viewed as sharing authentication credentials across domains—potentially giving someone else access to all of your information.

Report Suspicious Activity

If you see something suspicious or harmful on a school computer, report it immediately. You can always talk to your teacher for help or contact the school administrator if necessary.

Safety Tips for Specific Chats and Messaging Apps

Some common messaging apps have their own safety rules and guidelines, so be sure you know what they are before using them. If a rule is broken, a user may flag a message or be blocked by another user.

When you use social media, apps, or websites, they have privacy policies that tell you how they will protect your information. Privacy policies are required for any website that collects personally identifiable information about users, so it’s worth taking the time to read them through.

Monitoring and Ads

Even if a service is free – for example, most messaging services are – there may be costs involved in other ways. Many applications monitor users’ activities on the site in order to collect data for ads they will display later.

This means that even if you aren’t sharing personal information with someone else directly, your activity can still be tracked by an advertiser. So be careful with what you do online, even if it’s just playing a game or watching a video.

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