Internet security has become increasingly important over the years, especially with the advancement of technology. In fact, it is so important that Weber State University has an entire department dedicated to keeping students safe while online.

Graphic by Stephanie Wells

However, the department can only do so much to keep students safe. Students need to take an active role in their online security.

Rachel Berghout is a junior studying computer science at WSU. Berghout shared that while online, she ensures that she uses a secure connection. “If I come to a site I’ve never been to before I’m a bit more wary,” Berghout said. “If I don’t trust it, I leave that site.”

Hackers go to great lengths to fool people into believing a website is legitimate. Andrea Grover, the information security manager at WSU, advised students to be careful about what they click on. “Make sure you go to where you want to go,” Grover said. These fake websites can also be hidden within emails. The emails themselves will usually appear to be from family or friends, when in reality they are fake.

According to Grover, users can make sure they are on a secure site by checking the address bar at the top. “If you’re going to a site, make sure it says HTTPS,” Grover said. “And that it has a lock next to it.” Grover also said that browsers usually protect students from bad websites, especially those sites that will download malware onto the student’s computer.

Another issue that can undermine the security of an internet user is a poor password. Hugo Valle, assistant professor in the Computer Science Department, said, “An error that people make is using the same password,”

Users may argue that they don’t want to remember all the different passwords for each site, but Valle suggests, “Start with a master password, then modify it a little.” He also cautioned not to save passwords within the browser. “You might want to save the username, but don’t save the password. People can get in and see them.” he said.

Valle advised against using social media to sign into new websites even if it is an option. He suggests creating a new account for each website. “Don’t use Facebook to sign in,” Valle said.

Grover suggested getting an antivirus program to help boost defense. Windows users should do a search for free virus protection. Grover recommends Clam antivirus for Mac users. “Keep your computer up to date,” Grover said.

For more information on WSU’s Information Security department, policies and contact information, visit http://weber.edu/iso.

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