How Students Can Protect Against Cybercrime


It was recently revealed that every wi-fi device is vulnerable to the unprecedent ‘Krack’ hacking attack. Krack allows an attacker within range of a Wi-Fi network to place multiple viruses within the networks, allowing them to read communication sent over the network. Including photos, passwords and even credit card numbers.

Education institutions like colleges and universities have networks where thousands of individual mobile devices connect every day, alongside classrooms full of hard-wired computers. This makes them prime targets for hackers phishing for data using a Krack attack.  It’s not just Krack making university networks a target for hackers either. The practice of regularly changing your password mandated by colleges and companies was considered best practice up until recently. When forced to change their password as often as every 90 days, most users end up adopting lazy practices. Reusing techniques in predictable ways that algorithms can detect, making them easier for hackers to crack.

The perception that young people are tech savvy and can ignore these threats is flawed. The number of scams out there which students can fall victim to are infinite. From phishing to doxing, even fraud and revenge porn. And all it takes is a weak social media password, out of date software, or even a misplaced phone or laptop. Small factors like these can lead to major security threats for anyone with access to the Internet, not only students. At the end of the day, it pays to do a little bit of research and be safe online.

According to research from Cisco, millennials are at a greater risk of falling victim to cybercrime than the over 50s! The good news is, it’s not hard to stay safe, and the tips the experts give to help you protect your home network, are the same steps you should be taking at school.

Install the latest Antivirus Software

Up-to-date antivirus software will stop malicious programs from being downloaded, block secret installations from malicious adverts on the web, and regularly scan the device to look for malware that might already installed. New viruses and hacks are being developed all the time, so the latest version of whatever you’re using is a must. Sometimes it does pay to fork out for the paid versions of antivirus software, especially if you need protection on devices like tablets or smartphones. Most companies offer student discounts, you can find some Symantec ones over on the coupon site Qetes.

Avoid saving passwords and payment details online

In 2016 the Opera browser hack meant the personal and financial data of millions of users personal were suddenly accessible to cybercriminals. It might seem convenient, but keeping your passwords and payment details saved online in google chrome or Firefox, is risky business. Be cautious of using your browser’s autofill option. Yes, it will store your credit card or PayPal information for future purchases. But it could also give hackers another route to stealing your data.

Limit your social media check-ins and be mindful of the information you share

The more information a hacker can obtain about you, the easier it is for them to impersonate you. Avoid checking in to locations like your home, or even public locations like your local coffee shop. Oversharing on social media also has the potential to put you at risk from other crimes, including home burglary and worse. It pays to keep some parts of your life private.

Annabel Monaghan is a writer with a passion for education and edtech. She writes education and career articles for The College Puzzle with the aim of providing useful information for students and young professionals. If you have any questions, please feel free to email her at 


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