Hack-Proof Your Dorm Room
by Graham Westbrook
It’s that time of year! You (or your friends) are getting primed and ready to move into an awesome new dorm room to start school off in style, cause it’s all about that summer swag… those fresh new kicks… some brand new tech toys. Right?
Well, one BIG thing usually gets overlooked: security.
Security often isn’t top of mind until it’s too late - when passwords are already stolen, Twitter’s defaced, your identity is compromised, and your bank account is out $1,000 in precious funds (“yo quiero, yo quiero dinero” anyone?).
Here are a few tips for hack-proofing that fancy new dorm room:
1. First things first: set a strong passphrase and keep it to yourself!
Most schools force a password reset to start the school year off fresh. If not, take the opportunity to login and set a favorite song lyric or quote as the passphrase instead. Think: “Drake & in my feelings!” as a password alternative, which fulfills policy and is stronger, longer and easier to remember. If you want to really step up your game and make it easier on yourself, consider using a password manager to securely create and cache your passwords. By doing this, you only have to remember one master password for all of your accounts.
2. Setup your dorm essentials then lock ‘em down!
As you setup your Amazon Echo, PS4s, routers, and smart TVs, remember that technology is only as secure as its settings. Most devices share location information and other sensitive data by default unless you toggle off the feature in settings. For things like Amazon Echo, consider turning off voice purchasing (or setting a PIN code for buying) so your friends don’t drain your wallet as a party trick.
Smart home devices are growing popular in today’s home. But, with so much to offer a network connection, the Amazon Echo may raise a few privacy and security concerns. Learn more about the latest updates to secure your data and information.
3. Stow before you go!
This nugget of wisdom stands not only for important devices like tablets and laptops with sensitive information on them, but also for birth certificates, credit cards, passports, and other private data. A physical safe works great here - convenient but secure. And hey, if you lock down your life at school, you may just feel a new sense of safety and freedom when you leave your dorm for the holidays.
Don’t take our word for it. Try it out and let us know how you did @livingsecurity #dormproofing
Graham Westbrook is the Director of Intelligence & Content at Living Security. He has a B.A. in Intelligence Studies and is currently pursuing a M.S. in Criminal Justice/Forensic Psychology. Graham is an intelligence practitioner at the intersection of cybersecurity and human risk. He has bylines at Russia Direct (RBTH), Leksika, SANS and Living Security, and will be speaking at RMISC 2019.