The first year of college is where you enter into adult life of independence and being responsible and accountable. Among the many things that you will be taking care of, there are some important issues concerning the use of technology in the dorm rooms that would make your life easier.
1. Phishing Scams
According to UC Berkeley, phishing is an ongoing threat to the Campus. “Phishing is potentially one of the most damaging internet security issues to our college students.” By definition, phishing is a scam by which an e-mail user is duped into revealing personal or confidential account information which can be used illicitly by the scammer. Usually the phishing e-mail will consist of a link to a fake web site that looks identical to the real web site of financial institutions or forged university accounts.
Steps to follow to prevent personal data being ‘phished’:
• Be vigilant and cautious. Never give out personal information or passwords through email.
• Keep your antivirus software and firewall up to date.
• Check the email address to see if it does match the email address of the organization.
• Do not click at the link to go to the organization’s web site. Open a new web browser and type in the web address yourself.
• Do not click on links in an email you believe to be fraudulent-it could be a link to a malicious software auto-download.
• Check the security certificate of any website into which you are entering sensitive data. They should usually begin with ‘https://’. Some browsers will display padlock symbols in the address and status bars. Anything on a website saying it is safe can be falsified and is not verified by the browser you are using, and so shouldn’t be trusted.
• Check with the internet security department of your college to see the kind of recent scams being reported or the advice provided. For example, UC Berkeley posted important information at their site: https://security.berkeley.edu/content/phishing-scams-ongoing-threat-campus.
2. Electronic appliances and accessories to bring to the dorm
Besides the obvious items: laptop, smart phone, alarm clock and chargers, have you thought of these electronic appliances and accessories to bring to college?
• Noise-cancelling headphones
• Extension cords and cable ties
• Airprint inkjet or laser printer
• Replacement printer ink or laser toner cartridges
Shelf life of unopened ink or laser toner cartridges can be expected to be about 1 year. Compatible or remanufactured printer ink or laser toner cartridges provide cost savings of up to 80% as compared to O.E.M. The best thing is that you can order online and have them delivered to your college mailing address.
• Back up hard-drive
• E-reader or tablet
More and more textbooks are made available in electronic versions. You may want to invest in an e-reader or tablet that enables you to carry your textbooks around campus easily and study on the go.
3. A wireless set up in the dorm room
College freshmen usually stay in double or triple rooms where space and internet ports are limited. This requires smart organization. Given the number of devices that may need wifi connection, a wireless router is essential. Search the student forum to find out how the current students are setting up the wireless connection.
You will need a working, always-on, broadband internet access with a DSL or cable modem. You will also need a wireless, broadband router with built-in firewall. Then, set up your personal wifi network. Usually it will be a simple “One Step Setup” process explained in the manual.
4. How to find my lost phone or tablet?
This is something to think about before your phone, notebook or tablet is being stolen. iPhone and Android phones provide apps to track your device. Be sure to set up the apps. For Android phones, free apps like ‘Lookout’ or ‘Avast!’ can help you locate, remote lock and remote wipe your phone. Apple offers ‘Find My iPhone’ app to locate lost iPhone, MacBook, iPod Touch or iPad. There are good suggestions from this forum: http://www.wikihow.com/Find-Your-Stolen-Phone.
5. Cloud storage.
Cloud storage means cyber storage of your media and document files and it is an effective data back-up methodology. An internet hosting service is needed and it allows users to upload files that could then be accessed over the internet from a different computer, tablet, smart phone or networked device, by the same user or possibly by other users, after a password or other authentication is provided. Cloud storage can be expensive. However, there are some free and limited cloud storage services to tap into. To name a few, CNET, Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive and Evernote all provide free and limited space cloud storage services.