School is In. Webroot Gives Tips for Students to Protect Their Personal Data and Identity Online

2008-08-07 02:00:00

BOULDER, Colo. (EMWNews) August 7, 2008 —

More than 18 million college students will head back to school this fall

and nearly every one of them owns a personal computer. Unfortunately,

many of these students will learn a number of hard lessons: Data loss

and hackers, like midterms, are inescapable. Human error, software

corruption, malware infections or theft, will be just a few of the

reasons that many students will lose valuable data in the coming

semester and underscore the need to protect both computers and content.

Downloading music, sharing files and photos, instant messaging, clicking on free downloads and playing online games – after doing homework of course – are the top online activities for students. Unfortunately, they are also the things that put them the most at risk

There are a lot of lessons students learn in

school, but losing their personal identity and data should not be among

the lessons young people have to deal with,

said Peter

Watkins, CEO, Webroot, a leading provider of security solutions. For

students, losing a term paper or project can be far more costly than

taking the time to back up their data.

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College students spend an average of 18 hours a week online completing

activities for school, work, and recreation, according to a 2007 study


According to a survey from the Pew

Internet & American Life Project, 64 percent of online teens

have spent time creating content on the Internet including photos,

video, stories, artwork, songs or music. Spending so much time in the

digital world makes students vulnerable to the growing number of online

security threats that not only steal passwords but can also destroy

valuable files such as personal financial information or school


According to technology industry research, an estimated five percent of trusted

web sites have some sort of threat associated with them like adware and

malicious spyware. Even well known sites such as Wikipedia, Google and

Facebook have been known to inadvertently host malicious content.

Webroot research has shown that up to 46 percent of PC users have

permanently lost data; 20 percent in the last year alone. In spite of

this, a recent study from the Consumer Electronics Association found

that nearly one in three PC users still don’t see the need to back up

their files, while nearly a quarter wont back

them up because its too

time consuming.

Downloading music, sharing files and photos,

instant messaging, clicking on free downloads and playing online games

after doing homework of course are the top

online activities for students. Unfortunately, they are also the things

that put them the most at risk, added

Watkins. To protect their systems and their

data, students need to have a comprehensive online security strategy thats

easy and automatic.

To help students returning to school this year, Webroot has created an

easy list of tips to follow that can dramatically improve online


Online Security Tips for Students

  • Regularly Back Up Data

Everyone knows this and has heard it numerous times. But the hassle-factor

of remembering to do it, getting and organizing all the CDs, or buying

and configuring a hard-drive makes it complex and difficult. Fortunately

there are new, very convenient, simple ways to do what everyone knows

they should be doing. Using an online

data backup solution, students can protect their important school

work, digital photos, music and any other files from damage or loss

automatically – and access it anywhere. Some online

backup solutions can store data on appliances or CDs as well.

Students can also easily share links to files rather than send large

e-mail attachments. Doing all of this while automatically running in the

background make backup both convenient and easy.

  • Use a Firewall and Regularly Updated Antispyware and Antivirus


Run updated versions of best-of-breed antispyware

and antivirus solutions and scan the entire system at least once a

week. To help students identify existing threats their computers may

already harbor, Webroot offers a free

computer scan to check for spyware, viruses and other threatening

forms of malware. Students can visit to run a complete, deep

scan of their system.

  • Multiple Computers

While nearly all college students have their own computers, many still

use on-campus computer labs that have multiple users accessing each

machine. When using one of these computers students need to be careful

what information they enter into these machines because it may be

infected with malware that can steal passwords or other personal data.

It is also extremely important to be careful when using a roommate’s

computer, and even more critical to allow personal computer access only

to known and trusted classmates who are unlikely to inadvertently

download malware.

  • Do Not Open Executable Programs

Cyber criminals often try to entice users to download executable

programs (files ending in .exe) with special offers or cheat codes for

games, etc. By downloading these programs, users open their computer to

different types of spyware and viruses that can capture personal data

such as passwords and/or account numbers.

  • Protect Account Information

Sharing valuable account information, like passwords, increases the risk

of identity theft. Students who are asked to do so as a means to move

ahead in an online game, share online music or access a social network

account should be aware of this risk.

  • Create and Change Unique Passwords

Creating a unique password and/or user name for each online account

using a minimum of eight characters mixed between numbers and letters

  • Protect your Personal Data

Never share personal information online with strangers. According to

research from the Carnegie Mellon Institute, hackers can identify 87

percent all people in North America by knowing just their gender, zip

code and birth date. Use a bleaching

software application to erase all trace

of Web usage including cookies, user IDs and passwords.

By taking a few

simple precautions students will dramatically increase their online

security and reduce their chances of losing valuable information or

becoming a victim of identity theft. They will be able to finish their

education experience with their identity, finances and data intact,

said Watkins.


Webroot Software,

Inc. provides industry leading security software for consumers,

enterprises and small and medium businesses worldwide. Globally

recognized for its award-winning Spy Sweeper® line

of antispyware and antivirus products, Webroot security software

consistently receives top review ratings by respected third-party

experts and has been adopted by millions globally. Webroot AntiVirus

with AntiSpyware & Firewall provides complete protection against

viruses, spyware, data theft and hackers. Webroot Parental Controls

offers powerful and easy to use protection to keep kids safe online.

Webroot Window Washer® software eliminates

all traces of PC and Internet activity. Webroot recently entered the

Software as a Service market and will now offer a comprehensive range of

web-based email management and protection services. Webroot products can

be found at

and on the shelves of leading retailers worldwide. To find out more

visit or call


©2008 Webroot Software, Inc. All rights

reserved. Webroot, Spy Sweeper, and Window Washer are registered

trademarks or trademarks of Webroot Software, Inc. in the United States

and/or other countries. Windows and Windows Vista are registered

trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States

and/or other countries. All other trademarks are property of their

respective owners.

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