The Most Common Types of Cybercrime on Campus and How to Avoid Them

As a college student, you probably have some personal information stored in your computer or laptop, your smartphone, other devices, in your wallet, and in your dorm room. It’s essential to make sure that this information is well-protected from thieves who may steal your devices and personal information. If it falls into the wrong hands, your personal information could be used to commit crimes in your name, borrow money and affect your credit score, and turn your college life and life after graduation into a nightmare.

You can never be too careful when it comes to cybersecurity as a college student. Here are some common threats on college campuses, and what you can do to protect yourself.

Hacking Through Campus Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi that’s available all over campus is essential for colleges today. Students use it on a daily basis to stay connected to each other, professors, friends, and family, along with research and other educational resources. However, campus Wi-Fi isn’t typically any more secure than other public Wi-Fi, leaving whoever’s using it vulnerable to malware attacks, identity theft and more.

The best ways to protect yourself when using campus Wi-Fi include:

  • Use a VPN to encrypt the connection between your device and any sites you visit
  • Confirm the network before you connect to ensure it’s a legitimate campus network
  • Use complex passwords that are more difficult to guess and track
  • Make sure your firewall is switched on
  • Use strong anti-virus software and keep it up to date

Keylogging in Communal Workstations

Communal workstations and computer labs can be risky. Keylogging, which uses a shadowing device to record keystrokes, allows cyber criminals to steal passwords and gain access to software and other personal information. And, working at a communal workstation may expose you to infected files or software.

If you need to use a communal computer, you should avoid inputting any sensitive information, or visiting any sites that seem suspicious. Use communal computers for things like essay writing or research, and your personal laptop for things like online banking or checking your emails.

Phishing Emails

Make sure that you verify any emails coming from what appears to be a trusted source if they are asking you to reply with sensitive information, such as passwords or user names. Whether you receive an email that appears to be from campus or from an online service you’re using like, if you’re asked to provide anything sensitive, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.


Finally, theft is one of the most common types of crime on college campuses. You can never be too careful; don’t leave your bags in the library when you get up to use the bathroom, or leave your dorm room unlocked when visiting a friend down the hall. It only takes a couple of seconds for a thief to take your devices – and the information on them.

Be vigilant and make sure to:

  • Keep your dorm room locked
  • Avoid leaving valuables in your car
  • Avoid leaving your bags unattended in communal spaces
  • Install laptop and smartphone tracking software
  • Backup your files on a remote hard drive or in the cloud

Hopefully these tips will help you to stay safe on campus!

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