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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

7 Ways to Protect Your Personal Data While Living in a Dorm

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With the advancement in technology, the most challenging part is not to keep your material possessions safe. But it is to ensure that your personal data is secure from others.

The connectivity and convenience that the internet offers also come with some strong ties. There is always the threat of an attack lurking in the webs of the internet. The only way to stay safe is to take enough precautions. In a dorm room, especially when connected to public networks, the threat is even higher.

If you are concerned about your data’s safety, here are some preventive measures you can employ.

1.  Use a VPN

Most likely, you are relying heavily on the free Wi-Fi offered by campuses. These also allow hackers to get into your system with relatively little effort. While it might be impossible to avoid such Wi-Fi sources, you can add an extra layer of protection to your device.

Virtual Private Networks or VPNs effectively create an encrypted path between your device and a remote server. In other words, they will build you a secure connection. This guarantees that the location of your device stays hidden and protected.

Using a VPN is even more of an advantage to students. You can access academic resources and type in ‘write a research paper for me’ in your browser without having to worry about leaking personal data. A premium VPN plan should also be able to get you access to region-restricted websites and entertainment. All these while shielding your browsing activity from any prying eyes.

2.  Set Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication

Yes, it is easier to save passwords on devices or use the same password across all accounts. But it is never a good idea. If you need to store passwords elsewhere to remember, opt for a secure password manager. These are also handy to create strong passwords for your accounts. Also, make it a point to update these passwords regularly.

Whenever possible, sign up for two-factor authentication as well. These will ensure that you are notified whenever someone else is accessing your account. Always remember to log out of all accounts, and apps, even if it is on your phone.

source: https://unsplash.com/photos/_UeY8aTI6d0

3.  Read Privacy Policies and Terms of Use

Most websites and apps offer privacy settings for users. They might be long and boring to read, but it is necessary to know what kind of information they gather and share. Your phone app might have access to your files, personal information, and location. It is always best to choose the least amount of data sharing.

4.  Backup Your Data

As a student, your entire academic work might be on the laptop. So do not underestimate the significance of backing up your devices. It would be best if you did this via both reliable hardware and software. Use an external hard drive for offline backup, and back it up online in cloud-based services.

5.  Anti-Theft Protection

Insurance might cover your device’s cost, but you need additional measures to protect what’s in the device. There are apps that will let you perform a factory reset on your device if stolen or lost. This will clear all data from your phone and make it good as new. If you have cloud storage on your laptop, you might also be able to remote wipe your data.

6.  Safely Dispose of Personal Devices

It is not uncommon to overlook the importance of wiping your device clean before disposing of it. Whether you are recycling your device or giving it to someone else, you must erase all the data. If it is a laptop or an external hard drive, you can try using a wipe utility program to format the entire drive.

While getting rid of your phone, check the brand’s page to find out how to erase the information permanently. Also, ensure that you have removed the memory card and SIM from the device. Delete all the call logs, browsing history, and all files.

7.  Keep Data Secure Offline

Remember that you need to keep your data secure not only online but offline as well. Living in a dorm means your room and devices are accessible to others as well. The first step is to lock the devices and password-protect them all the time.

When you go outside, take only the important identification and bank cards you need. If you think it’s best, invest in a safe to hold your valuable documents such as passport, social security, and other important files and valuables in it.

There is no method that is a hundred percent foolproof. But these steps would make it more challenging for anybody to access your information. The important thing is to educate yourself on the potential harm and try to implement security measures to keep safeguarding what’s yours.

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