How do you see a new college student arriving at the campus? As a promising young man or woman who wants to gain new knowledge and give his or her talents to the world? This is definitely a great way to look at students. Unfortunately, everything is different from the point of view of computer hackers. They see fresh meat.

According to John Kuhn, who is a senior threat researcher at IBM security, students are the prime targets for stealing and further selling of data. All mentioned above is a dark side. On a brighter side, there are invisible and unknown super-heroes at every university, whose goal is to protect students and their information from being stolen and sold. Let’s take a look at how they work.

How Colleges and Universities Protect Their Students from Online Hacking

Meet Brian Mertz. He is a chief communications officer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He’s in charge of the department which keeps student’s data safe. His department changes passwords for accounts that have suspicious activity. A lot of times it’s just about being very attentive. For instance, if they see that a student logs into his or her e-mail at 10 in the morning from the campus, and in an hour someone logs in the same account from India, they know that something is not right.

In such cases, students’ passwords should be changed. If attacks keep coming to the same account, Mertz invites the student to the office and talks to them in order to take a closer look at their case.

Mertz points out that sharing password remains a big problem, and warns student not to share passwords with anyone, as “your today’s love may turn into your foe tomorrow for different reasons.”

Barton from the University of Chicago says that a “basic good hygiene” is crucial to ensure the security of students’ data. He advises students to use at least basic anti-virus and firewall protection with the latest protection mechanisms and patches.

Both Barton and Mertz state that their educational institutions have a vast array of special software used to keep the university network safe and to study and prevent identity thefts, credit card hacks, and other online threats.

Still, both experts agree that the number one thing, that will help students to avoid online threats, is basic common sense.

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