Why Hackers Prey on College Students

Posted On January 31, 2017
Categories News 2016

With their vast stores of personal data and expensive research, universities are prime targets for hackers looking to graduate from swiping credit card numbers.

~ NBC News

The typical college student has a lot on their mind. Busy class schedules, papers, midterms and part-time jobs are just a few things students stress about. Keeping personal data safe and secure doesn’t cross some students’ minds. However, college campuses have become a prime target for hackers, rising in numbers right behind retail as a one of the number one ways to steal personal information. Today’s hackers are now being deployed around the clock to steal intellectual property, sensitive research and personal information, potentially costing colleges and universities millions of dollars and badly damaging their reputations (University Business). Luckily, there are a few things that help protect personal data from being hacked and used for financial gain.

Protect Yourself from Hackers (Tips from Business Insider)

  • Keep a password on a cell phone. By not having a password on a device, data is far more accessible to anyone who comes across it if it’s lost or stolen. A four-digit PIN has ten-thousand possible combinations, which is fairly secure, but a six-digit code has one-million possible combinations. Apple‘s Touch ID sensor or a fingerprint sensor on a modern Android phone is also a great way to secure a device.
  • Enable the two-step verification process on all email accounts. Two-step verification is an additional security process that requires the user to authenticate themselves on another device, typically a cell phone. It’s meant to prevent someone from logging into an account with just an email and password, and it’s very effective at keeping email accounts safe. Most major companies that host sensitive data offer two-step verification for online accounts, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Dropbox and Facebook.
  • Don’t open suspicious emails or links. It may sound obvious, but common sense is the best defense against getting hacked. If a website or email looks fishy, then don’t engage. Never give a website sensitive information unless it’s verified to be authentic. The little padlock in the top of the browser next to the URL is a good indication that it’s a secure website.
  • Monitor social media accounts more closely. Be careful with how much information is publicized for others to see. Social media accounts can give hackers access to email addresses, password hints and other personal information. Keep in mind that professional hackers may have access to the posts, even if the account is set to private.

Student Victim Assistance staff want to be sure students who have been victimized have all of the information, resources and support available to them. Student Victim Assistance is here to assist victimized students as they figure out what they need and how they would like to move forward. Students who would like to make an appointment can contact Student Victim Assistance at 404-413-1965 for confidential support.