Cyber security issues are ever-prevalent, whether you’re an IT expert or a student abroad. Attack vectors of many cyber security risks like malware, email phishing, and viruses have evolved over the years. According to Forbes, 97% of businesses experienced cyber security breaches in 2021, with 93% admitting it happened because of weaknesses in their IT infrastructure.
As a student abroad, you are at an even greater risk given that you’re likely to use public Wi-Fi and university networks whose cyber security may be questionable. Here’s what you can do to stay safe.
- Use P2P Encrypted Messaging Apps
The first piece of software you should look for before you head out to study abroad is a good P2P encrypted messaging app. Data privacy and online cyber security have come under scrutiny in light of Cambridge Analytica. Don’t risk your private correspondence leaking online and use platforms such as Wire, Viber, and Silence to speak to your loved ones back home.
- Find a Good VPN for your Online Activities
Today's generation needs VPN to stay safe. Region-locked content is everywhere, and only VPNs can make it available. VPNs will protect your identity while browsing the web. Use Nord VPN, Surfshark, or Express VPN to stay safe.
- Learn How to Spot Dark Patterns Online
When browsing the web, you can never be sure of which buttons and hyperlinks are safe to use or contain malicious content. You can circumvent this somewhat by learning about the dark patterns used in web design. Dark pattern design is often used to mimic reliable links and calls to action, but in reality, they likely contain viruses or phishing scams. Students should be extra wary of dark patterns when looking for research notes for their assignments. It’s often best to use research papers help from a professional writer instead of risking visiting malicious websites. Spotting dark patterns will help you stay out of proverbial trouble when browsing the web.
- Install a Reliable Antivirus Software ASAP
Having a good antivirus or anti-malware solution installed on your laptop or desktop is a must. Without it, clicking on a malicious link can lead to data theft or crash of your OS and loss of precious files. Software like Avast, Kaspersky, and Norton will protect you from malicious links, emails, or downloaded content.
- Scan Emails Carefully Before Interacting with Them
Even though your email client will likely flag malicious emails immediately and send them as spam, some will find their way into your primary inbox. It’s important that you carefully read the subject line and first sentence of each and who sent them. As a student abroad, you may have problems understanding what the email says and dismiss it as spam. Use the best professional translator for your emails and any college essays and papers you are working on abroad. Doing so will ensure that you’re always safe when emailing as a student abroad.
- Don’t Share your Passwords and Update them Regularly
You shouldn’t give your login passwords to anyone. Don’t risk losing access to your accounts, credit card, or other vital parts of your digital identity. Update each password at least every six months to ensure it’s valid. Be proactive when it comes to password security as a student abroad.
- Create Data Backups Periodically Just in Case
You should create backups of essential data every once in a while, just to be safe. Grab an external drive or create a cloud-storage account and upload your data there. Even if you have to reinstall your OS or change your computer, you won’t lose important college assignments or personal data.
Practicing Cyber Security as a College Student Abroad
The matter is that you can never be too safe when browsing the web, especially if you study abroad. You will face a new language and a new way of thinking when living abroad, so be mindful of your digital data 24/7.
No antivirus or anti-malware software will protect you from social hacking attempts and phishing you need to be alert. Stay safe, avoid shady websites, and keep your cyber security software updated, and your data will remain safe.
Bio: Barbara Fielder is a content writer, social media marketer, and senior copywriter with years of experience in publishing digital content online. She likes to work on dynamic, creative writing projects for academic and corporate clients alike. In addition, Barbara is a cook and a poet in her spare time, trying to navigate her suburban domestic life.