Even though remote learning isn’t the rule of the day, going online is still a big part of the school experience.

Unfortunately, every time you go online, you risk falling victim to cybercrime or dangerous malware, damaging your computer and data.

Here are some easy methods you can use to keep your online interactions more safe.

Smart Password Practices
• Strong passwords are a must. Here are some of the best ways to keep your passwords, devices, and online accounts safe.
• Use a mixture of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
• Avoid using names – even the names of pets.
• Do not share your password with others.
• Do not use the same password in more than one place.

Follow School Online Policies
Honestly, they aren’t there to make your life difficult. If your school has rules about accessing or submitting class notes or assignments online, follow those rules. They will reduce the chances of you picking up a computer virus or malware and will keep your personal details more private.

Safety Tips From NextLight
Users of NextLight’s Gigaspire router receive Protect IQ network protection for an added layer of protection against suspicious activity. Protect IQ automatically updates itself, so NextLight customers can protect, connect, and always know their router has the latest defenses.

Whether you’re a NextLight customer or not, here are some more great security tips everyone – not just students – can take advantage of.

• Look for the letter ‘s’ – A website address should always start with “https” instead of the older “http.” That S stands for “secure,” meaning the website is taking steps to protect users and their information.
• Always protect your personal information – Big trouble can start when personal details leak onto the internet. Make sure you use a secure username and password to log into online services – even for remote classrooms or homework assignments. Never post your full first and last name, social security number, birth date, phone number, address or picture online.
• Keep your software, firmware, and devices up to date – Many updates are security patches, so this is one of the simplest safety measures you can take.
• If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t – If something online feels suspicious, avoid it. It is always better to be cautious than careless.

In addition:
• Avoid using public WiFi for anything you don’t want other people to see.
• Don’t write your password somewhere it can be seen, like on the cover of a notebook or taped to your laptop.
• When not home, keep laptops and tablets in drawers and not visible through windows.
• Don’t insert strange thumb drives into your computer.

Safety Is Simple
Using the simple techniques above will go a long way in keeping your information and devices safe and secure.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It was good advice back in the day of the Founding Fathers, and it’s good advice today.

By John Teehan, for Raised in the Rockies