Going back to school, especially college, is a fun time of year. One of the best experiences, by far, is living with other people in a dorm or private shared housing. You can make awesome friends, have amazing parties, and make excellent memories.
It's important to note in these shared living situations that hygiene is incredibly important. You don't want to be known as the smelly one in the house and find deodorant or soap left by the door to your room.
Just as there's always someone with "less than perfect" hygiene, there will be someone with less than perfect security hygiene. They will click on every link sent to them, visit every website they shouldn't, and run every program they find.
You can't just leave a firewall and antivirus sitting by the door to their room, so make sure that your computer is kept up-to-date and, if possible, put a router between your computer and the rest of the household or dorm network to further restrict access to your computer.
One aspect of the return to college that everyone needs to avoid are STDs, Socially Transmitted Decoys. These are fake news article and gimmick links that people tend to share because the title is shocking or alarming (often with those words included in the link). These clickbait article titles will often send you to pages filled with malware and are best avoided.
Unfortunately, with so many "legitimate" (and I use that word loosely) sites using clickbait titles, it can be hard to distinguish the somewhat valid URLs from the invalid ones. The best approach is to avoid clicking unless you're certain you know the domain and avoid anything that uses a URL shortener.
Popular and important advise for those heading back to college is the often stated, 'Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk.' This is important advice that has been transformed, often jokingly, into 'Friends Don't Let Friends Text Drunk.' There is, however, a third version of this that is worth sharing. It may even be considered meme-worthy – 'Friends Don't Let Friends Surf Drunk'.
There are many people that typo-squat popular domains waiting for people to fat-finger or misspell the website URL. It shouldn't come as a surprise, but we tend to have more typos when we're drunk and these incorrect websites may be filled with malware waiting for unsuspecting victims. Malware that you're more likely to click on in your drunken state. So, if the alcohol is coming out, it may be a good idea to disconnect entirely.
For other back-to-school security tips, please click here