BBB Advises Students to Secure Their Electronics

November 10, 2011

As students prepare to go back to school, many of them will carry cell phones, iPads, iPods, laptops and other electronic devices everywhere from their homes to their classrooms. The Better Business Bureau reminds parents to talk to their children about ways to keep electronics and personal information out of the wrong hands.

“Thieves are interested in stealing more than your personal property,” says Lynda Pasacreta, BBB President and CEO. “They could be trying to gain access to sensitive information such as emails, text messages, calendars, bank account information, Social Insurance Numbers and social media network logins and passwords.”

College campuses, high school cafeterias and even classrooms can be an easy target for those looking to ‘score’ expensive electronic devices and personal information.

BBB offers the following advice to students and parents on how to keep personal property and sensitive information safe at school:

  • Use password protections. Even if a thief steals your electronic device, having password protections could limit their access to your personal information. Avoid sharing passwords with friends or carrying them around on paper.
  • Avoid entering sensitive information into your device on unencrypted public wireless networks. Even novice hackers can download simple programs that allow them to track your movements online when you're using unprotected wireless networks. If you can avoid it, wait until you can use an encrypted connection to type passwords and other sensitive information into your web browser.
  • Use bells and whistles. Depending on your security needs, an alarm can be a useful tool. Some laptop alarms sound when there's unexpected motion, or when the computer moves outside a specified range around you. Or consider a kind of computer tracing for your laptop: a program that reports the location of your stolen laptop once it's connected to the Internet.