It’s back-to-school season, and even during the uncertainty of COVID-19, students across the United States are carrying out that age-old tradition of packing their belongings and dorm furniture and getting ready for that college move. It also starts the perennial parental and student concern: How safe and secure are college campuses?
Campuses are always hotbeds of security and safety threats. For instance, in 2018, there were 1,908 reported hate crimes at colleges nationally — based on data from 11,013 campuses — according to the U.S. Department of Education. They also report there were 44,567 arrests of all kinds on campuses that same year.
College sexual assault is a major safety concern. RAINN reports that 11.2 percent of all students experience rape or sexual assault. This breaks down to 8.8 percent of female and 2.2 percent of male graduate students, respectively, and 23.1 percent of female and 5.4 percent of male undergraduate students, respectively. About 4.2 percent of students have reported stalking.
The National Cyber Awareness System (NCAS), part of the Department of Homeland Security, is America’s first cohesive national cybersecurity system for identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing emerging vulnerabilities and threats.
According to NCAS, identity theft is on the rise during this period of COVID-19. It provides these guidelines for minimizing your risk:
Do business with reputable companies – Before providing any personal or financial information, make sure that you are interacting with a reputable, established company. Some attackers may try to trick you by creating malicious web sites that appear to be legitimate, so you should verify the legitimacy before supplying any information. (See Avoiding Social Engineering for more information.)
Smartphones — over the past decade, they have become an indispensable tool of daily life. We use these pocket-size computers for everything. This has always made them a top target for cybercriminals.
Given that we use our phones for sensitive transactions, like online banking, or something seemingly more innocuous like social media, which can accidentally make our most private information vulnerable, it is important to stay safe when using your phone. Iovation reports that in 2019, 59 percent of “risky transactions” in North America transpired on mobile devices. They found that telecommunications is the industry that sees the most mobile fraud, at 75 percent. The previous year, gambling was the most targeted industry, at 60 percent.