Common Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities You Probably Haven't Fixed Yet

8 Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities Your Gadgets Probably Have — And How To Fix Them

Your tech is smart, but you have to be even smarter to protect your information.

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You've probably heard about cybersecurity issues in the news but may have thought they wouldn't affect you. Many of the gadgets you have are prime targets for cybercriminals. It's bad enough to lose work due to a power blip or hard drive error.

Imagine what the consequences might be if a cyberattack stops you from logging into a campus email network or using word processing applications.

Universities realize that a lack of college student cybersecurity increases the risk of attacks. That's why many of them provide cybersecurity tips for incoming freshmen. But, you can take a more personalized approach. Here are eight common cybersecurity issues and how to fix them:

1. Easy-to-Guess Passwords Or No Passwords at All

Besides the passwords you likely needed to set up to access online services on campus or at work, your computer, smartphone, tablet and other gadgets should have password-protection, too. Outside of skilled cybercriminals, gadgets without passwords could entice your friends to play a prank by using them and posing as you.

You can fix your passwords using combinations of random letters, numbers and characters. Don't choose words from the dictionary or ones commonly associated with you, such as your pet's name, a favorite sports team or a band you love. If your gadgets don't have passwords at all, it's easy to set them up in a couple of minutes by going into the device settings for security specifics.

If you're worried about forgetting the passwords, think about using a password manager. It stores all the passwords you need online and only requires remembering one master password. There are free versions available, too.

2. Outdated Smartphone Software

When you're on a tight budget, it makes sense to keep using an older-model smartphone until it stops working. There's usually no harm in doing that unless the manufacturer no longer offers software updates for the device. At that point, it's too old to use safely. That's because protecting smartphones from cyberattacks is usually more about keeping the software current than maintaining the hardware.

On an iPhone, you can check for a newer version of the software by going to Settings > General > Software Update. If you're using Android, tap Settings > About Phone > Updates.

When updating your phone on either operating system, it's a good idea to connect to Wi-Fi first before getting updates. Then, you'll avoid going over your data limit.

3. Smart Speakers With Too Many Permissions

One thing that makes smart speakers so useful is the ability to use third-party apps or "skills" with them. Then, you can check your bank account or verify the details of an upcoming trip just by using your voice. It's also possible to buy things by speaking.

But, as you enable a smart speaker to do more and more things for you, don't forget that hackers could break into those devices. Stay safe by thinking carefully before granting new permissions. Also, go into the smart speaker's settings and revoke permissions as you see fit.

Some speakers make users enter numerical passwords to confirm purchases, too. Think about setting those up as another college student cybersecurity precaution. They'll stop you from making purchases in haste, plus bar people from buying things on your account.

4. Exposed Webcams

Most modern laptops have built-in webcams. They're great for keeping in touch with people but also pose security risks. A hacker could gain remote access to a webcam and use it to spy on you.

However, you can buy covers that go over the webcam and slide back and forth, letting you use the webcam as needed. Otherwise, you can do something simpler and cover it up with the adhesive part of a sticky note.

If you use an external webcam instead, disconnect the gadget whenever you aren't using it. Also, with all kinds of webcams, keep an eye out for unexpected functionality, such as a webcam unexpectedly turning on or its software launching without you doing anything.

5. Computer Data That's Not Backed Up

Whether pictures, documents or music files, you probably have content stored on your computer that doesn't exist anywhere else. It's time to change that. Besides the mistakes and equipment failures that could make you lose data, hackers can strike with ransomware. It's a type of malware that you can get by doing something like clicking on a link or downloading an attachment.

When your computer has ransomware, the people responsible usually cut off access to your files until you pay a specified amount — the ransom. And, the bad news is that paying doesn't guarantee you'll have access again.

Dealing with a ransomware attack often isn't straightforward and may require professional tech help. But, you can stop the dread associated with all kinds of file losses by backing up your files to an external hard drive or a cloud account. That way, if something happens to your computer or hackers hold your files hostage, there's another way to retrieve the information you need.

If you can, tweak the settings for the hard drive or cloud service so that backups frequently happen — at least once an hour. It's also usually possible to add things to back up more often than the automatic backups occur. Get in the habit of doing that if you're working on an especially in-depth project or paper and are scared of something going wrong with your computer.

While we're on the subject of ransomware, it's a good idea to disable macros in Microsoft products. Some malware contains macros that activate when a person clicks on a Word document file from someone they don't know, for example. You can also change settings to receive security alerts before enabling macros.

6. Always-On Wi-Fi Routers

In today's society, most of us can hardly imagine not having an internet connection available at any time. That's why many people keep their Wi-Fi routers turned on even when not using them.

Doing that can be a security risk, since it leaves the routers unnecessarily open to hackers during times when it's not necessary to leave the router operational — such as when you're asleep. Get in the habit of only powering up the router when you need to use it and turning it off otherwise.

Firewalls help to a degree, but hackers cannot break into your home network if the router is off. Plus, it only takes a minute or less for most routers to start working after you turn them on. Changing your behavior like this saves electricity, too.

7. Pre-Owned USB Drives Not Checked for Viruses Before Use

Many computer stores sell used thumb drives and other hard drives that connect to your computer through a USB port. The shops often guarantee they'll work for at least a year after you buy them, which is good news if you can't afford the price of a new USB drive but want some peace of mind with your purchase.

Hopefully, the store will take the steps required to ensure that the USB drive does not contain any old data from the previous owner before selling it to you. Even so, a study of USB drives sold in the United States and the United Kingdom shows that's usually not the case.

More specifically, researchers purchased 200 old USB drives and found that two-thirds of them had data from the past owners still on them. Some of that information might only embarrass those earlier owners and not cause harm to you. But it's also possible that a person could maliciously put malware onto a USB drive before attempting to sell it.

Most anti-virus software has features that allow you to scan external drives. Do that regularly, and especially when plugging in a secondhand drive to use it for the first time.

8. An Alexa Smart Speaker Used Without Reviewing or Deleting Voice History

If you use an Alexa smart speaker, you may not realize that the device stores the things you say. Amazon uses that data to further develop its services and better understand your needs.

Many people don't know that you can access and remove stored voice recordings. Even when users enjoy their smart speakers, they sometimes feel uneasy about the information they store — especially since courts occasionally use voice data to make rulings.

Even if you don't mind what Alexa stores about you, it's a good idea to become familiar with how to review and potentially get rid of the content. Then, if you suspect a roommate uses the Alexa without permission while you're at work, for example, the stored information could give the confirmation you seek.

Alternatively, you may wish to regularly clear out the voice history if you're afraid about your Amazon account getting hacked and a person potentially obtaining sensitive or revealing information about how you use your smart speaker. This could include using the device to conduct personal banking or to make plans for an upcoming out-of-town trip.

Keep in mind, though, that every time you delete the voice history, you're removing information that helps Alexa take care of your requests more efficiently. So, this tip is a bit of a trade-off. It may boost your security, but it could also slightly reduce Alexa's functionality while it re-learns your behavior.

Keep Yourself Safe Online

You probably use your connected gadgets throughout the day. The college student cybersecurity tips here will help you make improvements that could keep you safe from cyber attacks. Then, you can use technology without hassles or worries.

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100 Instagram Captions You'll Want To Use Right Now

Quotes, lyrics, sayings, and other ideas for Instagram captions!
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When it comes to Instagram we are often thinking about what to use as a caption for our photos that we take that we really want to post on Instagram. Sometimes we post the photo without a caption and sometimes we just use an emoji because we're stumped on finding a good caption to use for the photo. So we go the short route and just put an emoji as a caption for our photo. Well whether it is a selfie, a friend pic, group pic, or just need a caption for the photo, here are 100 captions to use for a photo. Some are lyrics, some are quotes, and some are just a quick caption to use on your photo. Also here are some accounts that are worth following:

-@brandonwoelfel

-@tess_and_sarah

-@brandymelvilleusa

-@goldenretrievers_

-@cats_of_instagram

-@zodiac.signs

-@thegrilledpineapple

-@jazzjennings_

-@chipper_thegolddog

-@llauratheleo

-@heyshalice

-@sailorhaley

-@sandcloudteam

-@photosabss

-@sharkbaitblond

Here are Quotes To Use As A Caption/ Lyrics To Use As A Caption/ Quick Little Sayings To Use As A Caption: for your Instagram photo that you wish to post!

1. Life goes on, with or without you.

2. Don't Worry Be Happy! Bob Marley

3. Be Happy.

4. Be Confident.

5. Be Positive.

6. Don't be a liar, everyone hates a liar.

7. Chillin' with my peeps.

8. Go big or go home.

9. What's the deal?

10. The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it's all that matters.

11. Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

12. Life is a gift.

13. You couldn't handle me even if I came with instructions.

14. Forgive, yes. Forget, never.

15.There's a hole in my heart where you used to be.

16. I don't need any part-time people in my life.

17. Get the gist.

18. Boy, it's the 21st Century, get with the program.

19. Hey, I just met you, this is crazy!

20. I woke up like this.

21. Keep smiling because life is a beautiful thing and there's so much to smile about.

22. Beauty is power, a smile is its sword.

23. Last day of class!

24. I donut care!

25. Got my donut and coffee today.

26. Happy as a clam

27. Beach days are the best!

28. A friend will always make you smile, especially when you don't want to…

29. Always classy, never trashy, and a little bit sassy.

30. If only we could turn back time...

31. With you, I forget all my problems. With you, time stands still.

32. Life's a climb, but the view is great.

33. "Ohana, means family, family means no one gets left behind or forgotten." — "Lilo & Stitch"

34. We come to love by not finding the perfect person, but by learning to see the imperfect person perfectly.

35. If I ever write a story about my life, don't be surprised if your name appears a billion times.

36. She's got that red lip, classic thing going on.

37. I don't know what's tighter, our jeans or our friendship!

38. Best friends make good times better and hard times easier!

39. Not sure what I did to deserve you as my best friend :)

40. I don't need your approval to be me.

41. So call me? Maybe?

42. "I am who.I am, I am what I am, I do what I do and I ain't never gonna do it any different. I don't care who likes it and who don't." — Buck Owens

43. Take me as I am, or watch me as I go.

44. "Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars." — Ed Sheeran

45. Cause you're a sky full of stars — Coldplay

46 . I keep dancing on my own — Calum Scott

47. Can't keep my hands to myself — Selena Gomez

48. I just want to look good for you — Selena Gomez

49. Kill em with kindness — Selena Gomez

50. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. But when I say sorry… I mean it!

51. Me? Weird? Please! I am limited edition!

52. Turn that frown upside down.

53. Smile, it's the best thing a girl can wear!

54, Stay true.

55. Laughing is the best medicine you can ever get!

56. "You're the king, baby I'm your queen." — Taylor Swift

57. Best Friends Forever!

58.Throwing it back to the good ole days!

59. Ugg Life.

60. I know you like, first-name-basis.

61. *Sends selfie to NASA cuz I'm a star*

62. Basic white girl.

63. Frisky Friday!

64. My thoughts are stars that I cannot fathom into constellations. — "The Fault In Our Stars"

65. "Maybe our okays will be our infinities." — The Fault In Our Stars

66. So hold onto me because I'm a little unsteady — Unsteady

67. This has got to be the best day of my life.

68. She's the beauty and he's the beast.

69. "All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." — Walt Disney

70. "If you can dream it, you can do it." — Walt Disney

71. "Hakuna Matata, it means no worries for the rest of your days." — "The Lion King"

72. "The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it." — "The Lion King."

73. "Remember you're the one who can fill the world with sunshine." — "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"

74 ."The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all." — "Mulan"

75. "You don't have time to be timid. You must be bold and daring." — "Beauty and the Beast"

76. "All it takes is faith and trust." — "Peter Pan"

77. "A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference." — "Winnie the Pooh"

78. "If you focus on what you left behind, you will never be able to see what lies ahead." — "Ratatouille"

79. "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." — George Bernard Shaw

80. "A true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart." — "Hercules"

81. "Life's not a spectator sport. If watchin' is all you're gonna do, then you're gonna watch your life go by without ya." — "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"

82. "The things that make me different are the things that make me ME." — "Winnie the Pooh"

83. "Giving up is for rookies." — "Hercules"

84. "Happiness is the richest thing we will ever own." — Donald Duck

85. "Change is good." — "The Lion King"

86. "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." — Abraham Lincoln

87. "An unexamined life is not worth living." — Socrates

88. "Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky." — Rabindranath Tagore

89. "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart." — Helen Keller

90. "The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire." — Pamela Hansford Johnson

91. "Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success." — Swami Sivananda

92. "Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain... To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices. Today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity, but embrace it." — Kevyn Aucoin

93. "Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'," — Audrey Hepburn

94. "Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you." — Walt Whitman

95. "My power's turned on, starting right now I'll be strong." — Rachel Platten

96. "Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." — Buddha

97. "Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf." — Rabindranath Tagore

98. "I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'" — Muhammad Ali

99. "Why don't you be you, and I'll be me." — James Bay

100. Life is like a camera, we focus on the positives and develop from the negatives.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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To Our Technology Addicted Generation

We've become so attached to our screens that we've forgotten how to cherish real moments.

JordynL
JordynL
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We're all from a technology-based generation. Middle-aged adults had pagers, phones that were the size of bricks with an insanely long antennae, and the earlier versions of computers. My generation grew up with mp3 players (and eventually iPods), newer versions of computers that are still constantly changing, flip phones that eventually transformed into a Blueberry that flipped a different direction, then the smart phones that we have today. Granted, my generation is far more guilty of having a technological addiction. Very rarely do our phones separate from our hands and we barely shift our attention away from a screen. Adults/parents are beginning to be guilty of it as well but only because we, their children, encouraged them to evolve with the times.

Now families sit in the same room and barely say a few sentences to each other. Sure, we can share things to one another on social media and bond with a halfhearted laugh, but where is the basic human interaction that we all crave? We had plenty of it when we were younger and played outside with our friends, threw a ball around with our parents, and had sleepovers at our grandparents' house. But where is it now? Where is the one thing that we had plenty of when we were kids, but eventually let slip away while we created our online profiles?

It's behind your screen. It's in the same room or a few feet away. It's in such a short distance. But what are you doing instead? What am I doing instead? I'm in front of a screen being a hypocrite when I could be relaxing with my friends in a hammock or playing a card game at the lake. I'm in front of a screen, typing and going on-and-on about how disconnected we all are from each other. You're reading this. You're staring at a screen. You're soaking up the words I have put in front of you. You know that I'm correct, yet you're still reading. After this, you'll probably scroll through your various social media accounts. As will I. Why is that?

We're all so disconnected from each other that we don't want to go out and be the social butterflies that we have the potential to be. Instead, we sit in front of our phones, laptops, and TVs to binge-watch Netflix and Hulu instead of going out and experiencing the world. In some way, we've all developed some form of social anxiety because of technology. We're so used to staying indoors and saying anything we want online and in text messages but when an opportunity arises that we could speak to someone, very few people will say what's on their minds; to family, friends, (hopeful) significant others, etc. I can admit, I'm guilty. I'm sure you are too; even in the tiniest way.

We're all so used to portraying the facade that we have created online and focus of the number of friends and followers we have, instead of concentrating on your real friends (which is a significantly lesser amount), and being the amazing people that we truly are, or at least used to be. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to other people on our feeds that we've allowed ourselves to be distracted from the infinite potential around us. Yet we continue to sit in front of our screens sulking at the fact that we're so "lonely", when all we have to do is look around and see everything that we're so desperate for. We're all desperate to have a life, have something to do, and have someone to love. But we still don't look up. We stare into our screens because we feel that they're the only things that we can rely on not leaving us.

Our virtual worlds have sucked us in so much that we can't fully experience life- or at least we're not allowing ourselves to. We take pictures of every moment as if they'll capture the actual emotion behind them. We stray away from actual conversations because we feel like what's on our screen is more important; whether it be memes, pictures, videos, or whatever game is popular. We don't go to concerts, sporting events, or touristy places and purely enjoy them. We look at them through our screens while we record the moments for our Snapchat stories and Instagram feeds. Instead we need to feel the music and understand the meaning. We need to watch the touchdowns, home-runs, goals, and baskets happen with our own eyes. We need to see the architecture, landscape, and cultural differences that are right in front of us. We need to experience life for what it is- NOT what we see through our cameras.

All I ask is that you look up. Enjoy the beauty and art in front of you. Spend time with your family, friends, whoever. Enjoy the uninterrupted moments and lose track of time. The laughter and happiness will be pure. They'll be memories that can't possibly be captured in one picture or video and that'll make you cherish it so much more.

Now if you don't mind, I'll separate myself from my various screens and spend the rest of my day at the lake with some great friends. I hope you'll take this opportunity to separate yourself from your screens as well. :)

-J



JordynL
JordynL

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