Online privacy is a valid concern for anyone. But college students, in particular, need to take control of it. They tend to spend a lot of time online, use unsecured networks, and visit all types of platforms on the internet.
Without proper protection measures, one risks being a victim of a data breach, malware attack, or identity theft. In this guide, you’ll learn all the fundamentals of online privacy and essential tools to use.
Online Privacy Concerns
In many cases, one might think that cybersecurity is rather a concern of corporations and businesses. However, the potential risks are as detrimental for individuals as for companies. In the digitized world, data is one of the most valuable assets, and it is worth safeguarding.
A simple example of malware one can catch online is a virus. Such programs can delete files and damage devices beyond the ability to repair. Imagine losing all your files just right before the important college deadline.
Not only do you need to recover your device or buy a new one but also start the essay, case study, or term paper from scratch. Surely, one can opt for WritePaper help in such cases. It is a professional academic writing service that can nail any type of college assignment in little time. Experienced writers offer writing, editing, and proofreading to all students in need.
So whether you need help, lack time, or do not feel confident in your skills – it is a lifesaver. It can save your papers and grades but will not save other files from being damaged by viruses, unfortunately.
This is just one of the cybersecurity threats. Identity theft and financial fraud are other risks students come across almost daily online.
That’s why it is crucial to be proactive in terms of privacy protection.
The basic rules of online privacy are:
- Keep your data a priority when you are online;
- Do not download anything from sites you do not completely trust;
- Do not use unprotected and shady platforms;
- Do not post any identifying data on social media (address, exact location, bank data, etc.);
- Be aware of the app you use and the access you give them;
- Download apps only from credible platforms (Play Market, Apple Store, or Google Play);
- Do not reuse the same password.
And, of course, students need to use apps and tools that protect their data on all devices.
Necessary Privacy Tools for Students
Virtual Private Network is software designed specifically to protect one’s privacy online. Such apps act like a shield between you and the host network you are using. So your IP address is not visible, and the hackers cannot intercept it.
VPN software encrypts your personal data. It is one of the essential tools for students, especially if you use an open Wi-Fi connection a lot.
There are lots of various VPNs out there. Choose the one that works for your technology and offers good connection speed. One of the advantages of using a VPN is that you can browse the internet from a specific location. For example, you set it to show you as browsing from Canada to watch Canadian Netflix. Or see the content that is blocked in your country.
Some of the reliable tools are:
This is another great technology for cyber protection. It has an indirect yet powerful impact. When you have a lot of accounts, it is hard to remember all of the passwords. A lot of people just reuse one they like. Or store a file with passwords on their laptop. Both of these ways are extremely unsafe.
The best idea is to always have unique and secure passwords for every account you have. And to keep them all in place and not forget, students should use such management tools.
They can generate strong codes and store them encrypted. So you only have to memorize one master code.
Here are some great instruments to consider:
- Bitwarden has great free functionality for individual use;
- Dashline is one of the top apps for macOS with good free functionality;
- Sticky Password has great features like autofill, code generator, protected notes, and two-factor authentication;
- RoboForm offers unlimited logins and integrates with almost any platform online;
- LastPass is functional and completely free for one device;
- Norton Password Manager works as a browser extension or mobile app. It allows for storing cards, notes, and addresses as well. You can use Face ID or fingerprint to unlock it on your smartphone.
Some people think that secure browsers are only useful for dark web or criminal activity. But it is not the goal of such software. Such browsers are built with security tools to protect one’s data.
This means that your information about the cache, history, browsing habits, and location is secure and safe from others’ access. Sure, the mainstream browsers also add similar features now. But those can be less well-performing and uncomfortable.
Some of the credible secure browsers are:
- Tor – classic choice, but it can slow the device down a bit;
- Brave – also blocks ads and trackers;
- Orbot – offers traffic encryption and proxy server functionality;
- Puffin – has a free mobile version and loads websites on their servers and not on your device. This adds protection from malware.
Antivirus programs protect your devices from malicious software, trackers, or data breaches. It is a standard practice to have one on all your devices. A lot of providers offer packages that ensure you can protect your laptop and smartphone at the same time, which is quite convenient.
The downside is those good antiviruses are usually not free. But it is a worthy investment. Here are some excellent programs to opt for:
- AVG (actually has free functionality);
- Bitfinder Antivirus (one of the best for macOS);
- TotalAV Antivirus (has free functionality and reliable performance);
- Microsoft Defender.
Protected Messengers and Emails
To add security to your texts and emails, you can opt for tools with advanced features. This way, you can make sure that whatever you share with others will not be leaked. They offer different functionalities.
The Signal is one of the safest messaging apps out there. It encrypts every text and call by default. Guerrilla Mail is a great software to sign up for online services, for instance. It creates another email that is not linked to your real one.
Another exciting tool is Wickr Me. It ensures encrypted communication and the opportunity to share heavy files (up to 1GB). And students can safely share screens here for collaboration.
Tracker and Ad Blockers
Such programs make the browsing experience better and leave marketers off your trail. If you are tired of endless popups and ads, this is the perfect solution.
Here are some good ones to try:
- uBlock Origin is speedy and configurable;
- AdBlock is simple, has free functionality, and works great;
- AdBlocker Ultimate works with almost any browser as an extension. It also has a desktop app for Windows.
- AdGuard AdBlocker is completely free;
- 1Blocker is designed for Safari.
Protecting your privacy online is an important part of student life. With all the research and online surfing students do, it is essential to be proactive and use advanced tools.