How to be safe going back to school

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Wednesday August 28th. I’m Howard Solomon, contributing reporter on cyber security for ITWorldCanada.com.

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University and college students are going back to campuses for the fall sessions, often armed with new laptops, smartphones and tablets. But they may not be thinking seriously enough about cyber security. That’s what a survey by security vendor McAfee of 1,000 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 25 who attend or have attended college suggests. Eighty-one per cent of respondents said they have been affected by a cyber attack, or have a friend/family member who has been affected. However, 37 per cent don’t think they will be a victim of a cyber crime.
Almost 60 per cent of the respondents installed cyber security software on their personal computers – but only 30 per cent  have smartphone protection, and only 12 per cent  have tablet protection.

Eighteen per cent said they don’t use any cyber security products at all on their devices.

This is disappointing because the education sector is a big target for attackers, who hope to sucker young users eager to download the latest app. Universities are prime targets for those spreading ransomware, hoping students and the institution will be desperate to pay to recover encrypted research.

Gary Davis, McAfee’s chief security evangelist, told me companies like his have to do a better job of reminding consumers how to secure their devices. Schools also have to play a bigger role in educating students, he said.

And you don’t have to pay for some solutions: There are free versions of anti-virus software and virtual private networks for smart phones and tablets, while Windows comes with its own protection software.

In addition, McAfee passes on these tips:

1. Never reuse passwords. Use unique passwords for each one of your accounts. Use a password manager to remember them.
2. Always set privacy and security settings on every app. Anyone with access to the Internet can view your social media postings if they’re public, so protect your identity by turning your profiles to ‘Private’ in order to have control over who can follow you. You should also take the time to understand the security and privacy settings to see which work best for your lifestyle.
3. Use two-factor authentication for extra login protection to sites on the Internet.
4. Always connect with caution. If you have to do logins or financial transactions on a public Wi-Fi connection, use virtual private network software.

Finally spread the word to family and friends on how to be cyber safe.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Links to details about these stories can be found in the text version of each podcast at ITWorldCanada.com. That’s where you’ll also find my news stories aimed at businesses and cyber security professionals. Cyber Security Today can be heard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening. I’m Howard Solomon



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