How to Protect Yourself from Cybercrime
Cybercrimes are a major concern to most people, and students are not an exception. A significant number of people have been victims of fraud and hackers who access their private information and use it to rob them. The situation has been caused by the emergence of technology that makes information readily available to enemies. The hackers also continue to devise new ways of attacking the Internet users. Thus, people should also have better strategies to deal with this challenge. This essay, therefore, discusses the various tactics that an average student may use to curb the cybercrimes.
One of the ways in which average students can protect themselves from cybercrimes is avoid using public Wi-Fi. In this digital era, Wi-Fi is almost everywhere, and some people, particularly students who may not afford to install their own, may be tempted to connect to any that works for them. Furthermore, this type of Wi-Fi is usually found in hotels and hospitals as well as schools. Unfortunately, some students may gladly use the access to the Internet as long as it connects. They forget that any reliable network connection must have passwords for security. As such, hackers have devised ways of receiving information through Wi-Fi. Some people may check their bank balances or access important emails using the public Internet connection. The passwords and other valuable information may be retrieved and used to commit crimes. Therefore, students should only use the Internet connection provided by the school or at their homes to reduce the chances of cybercrimes. Moreover, if a student has his own WI-Fi, he should ensure that he uses a secure password to prevent hacking it.
Having strong passwords is also another significant way to reduce cybercrimes. Some students use easy passwords such as their official names. Instead, they should incorporate numbers, letters and other characters as their passwords (Kirwan & Power, 2013) Doing this will prevent the hackers from cracking them. Additionally, students should ensure that all their gadgets such as their computers and phones have passwords. This step will prevent unauthorized persons from accessing the devices thus enhancing security. Besides, it is important for the students to update their passwords regularly. This idea helps in the case where one has another person’s password. (Kirwan & Power, 2013) Furthermore, students should always remember to log out in case they access their private accounts using other people’s computers. Therefore, the issue of changing password applies in cases where one forgot to log out. Besides, students should avoid using the same passwords for all their accounts (Kirwan & Power, 2013). Some people do not use different passwords for fear of forgetting. However, it is safer to forget the password than allow someone to apply a password to access all private accounts.
Students should install antivirus on their computers. Most of the frauds are in the form of pop-ups while others may enter one’s system when the owner downloads files. The pop-ups appear and require one to click them, and when one does it, he or she is taken to another site where various information that is later used to terrorize is asked. Therefore, the students should ignore these pop-ups as they may serve as the tools for cyber criminals. Having an updated antivirus is essential as it filters such things and also prevents the download of dangerous files. An example of this software is Kaspersky antivirus which is capable of filtering all threats in one’s device (Halsey, 2015). Most students are caught by these suspicious threats because they do not install the relevant software while those who do rarely update them. Installing antiviruses will reduce the rate of cybercrimes among students.
Students should also avoid revealing so much information in social media. Some people, particularly the young, tend to notify people on everything that happens in their lives. One may see what is her or his location and activity. This situation is dangerous as it may expose one to attack, especially by people who have something against them (National White Collar Crime Centre, 2011). Furthermore, some people reveal all their personal information such as their full names, their places of work or studying. Others even go to the extent of providing their contact information such as phone numbers and emails. As such, the enemy may find it easy to reach them. Hackers may also use this information to acquire other data such as bank statements that may eventually lead to fraud. Additionally, people should avoid accepting strangers to be their friends. The strangers are the ones who may cyber-bully someone while others may just be planning to commit a crime. Some people use fake accounts, and it may be difficult to trace them. Therefore, dealing with people that one is familiar with is easy as one can trace them. It is also advisable to block individuals who seem suspicious before they cause harm.
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Students who like online games should be cautious when playing them. People chat with their fellow players online. However, this act is dangerous because one has no idea of the person he or she is chatting with. Some of these players may have bad intentions, and they may even ask their fellow players to give them their personal information. According to Trend Micro (2016), some hackers may present themselves in the form of companies that help players to gain more currencies to accelerate their game. They use this trick to gain password that they may use to acquire personal information. Therefore, students should be vigilant while playing these games, and while chatting, they should only discuss the issues concerning the games without giving personal details.
Reporting any cybercrime is also a suitable strategy for students to prevent themselves online. There are various bodies such as the Internet Crime Centres in the US who have the responsibility of handling cyber-related crimes. Additionally, there is a section in the Federal Bureau Investigation that also examines such wrongdoings to help the citizens discover the hackers (Federal Bureau Investigation n.d). They are also trained to detect the cybercrimes before they take place. In reporting the crime, one is in a position to describe the type of offense he or she encountered. One can also state the site where the crime took place to help the authority trace the violator. Therefore, if students experience this kind of a problem, they can report to the relevant authority to prevent re-occurrence as well as protect their colleagues from the same.
Students who shop online should do it wisely. Most businesses have advanced and opened online stores to enable their customers to shop from their comfortable homes. Following this, hackers have also created the trick to fraud the unsuspecting customers. They may send messages that look so promising to the clients. Some even promise the customers to offer similar products at relatively low prices. Consequently, some people become victims of these fraudsters and give their personal information or pay for something they will never receive. Some frauds also open fake accounts with the names of the famous companies. The clients get deceived and pay to the wrong persons. Therefore, when students are shopping through phones, they should use reliable technology. Additionally, they should ensure that they are shopping on the official website of the organization to avoid these frauds.
Students may also use private data encryption which ensures that nobody accesses any personal information. This strategy could be applied in emails and the social media sites that are vulnerable to attacks. It provides a code that one has to enter before accessing a person’s email. Additionally, it notifies the owner that someone wants to access the account. Therefore, it is a suitable tool for protecting from cybercrimes, and students should also have them in all their accounts including those that they have opened at their school. If this is not possible, one can avoid storing sensitive information such as bank details online to avoid fraud.
In conclusion, students can protect themselves from cybercrimes by avoiding the use of public Wi-Fi that is usually available in public places. Any Wi-Fi connection without security such as passwords can be a trap of hackers. They should also have strong passwords that cannot be easily memorized in their devices. In this regard, a student should consider changing the passwords as many times as possible to hinder the hackers. Additionally, having an antivirus that detects malware and other threats when downloading content is also essential. Besides, to stay in the technological era, people can withhold personal information when interacting with others online. One is usually unaware of who is looking at him while being online, and therefore, he or she should enhance privacy. Additionally, if one is a victim of any form of cybercrime, he or she should inform authority who may help trace the frauds and hackers. Furthermore, students ought to limit themselves while gaming online to reduce the risk of the attack. Besides, while shopping online, students should be in a position to detect and avoiding frauds. If students take all these measures, there will be fewer cases of cyber-attacks.