Downloading Study Materials? Top 5 Security Issues All Students Should Know

It’s expensive to be a student – especially when you’re getting a quality education. Fortunately, the internet makes things more accessible and affordable than ever before. If you’ve ever purchased an eBook, you probably noticed that it was substantially less expensive than a physical copy of a hardcover book. You benefit from the money the company saves in producing those materials. That’s exactly why downloading study materials is so advantageous.

It’s a great route to go, as long as you can be certain that you’re receiving this content safely.

1. Stick to Trusted Websites

Low quality websites or websites written in poor English should be a huge warning sign. You should only download study materials from websites using secure servers, as evidenced by their security seals and the “https” in the URL. If you can’t trust the website, you don’t have a guarantee that you’re downloading exactly what it is that you think you’re downloading. Your study materials could be bundled with malware that will compromise the security and affect the performance of your computer, and as a student, you can’t afford to have your computer stop working on you.

2. Be Careful of School WiFi

School WiFi is a big help, but it’s not always the most secure way to send or receive information. You’re sharing that connection with everyone else who attends your school, and you have no way of knowing whether or not your classmates are as trustworthy as you are. For that reason, you might want to download things through a VPN for school. A VPN will prevent other people on the network from seeing what you’re doing and potentially accessing confidential information on your computer.

3. Update Your Protections Regularly

Anyone who downloads anything should be using some kind of antivirus protection. Any kind of downloadable content you receive on the internet, including email attachments, may come along with some sneaky surprises. Though it may be tempting to tick that “update later” box when you’re up to your ears in assignments, it’s worth it in the long term to save what you’re doing and allow your updates to run. These updates come every time your antivirus software is made aware of a new potential threat, and you need to stop that threat before it makes its way to you.

4. Be Cautious With File Sharing

Sometimes, study materials will come in torrents. In the worst cases, these torrents don’t actually contain what they’re supposed to. Torrents are often free, which is a huge draw for students on a budget. Before you download a torrent you believe to be the materials you need to help you complete a project, investigate it a little further. Make sure you’re choosing a torrent with lots of valuable comments, and a wealth of seeders. If anyone has noticed something suspicious with the torrent, they’ll likely alert other users that the content within the files is not what it appears to be.

5. Make Sure You Aren’t Violating Copyright Laws

Before you download anything for free, make sure it’s actually a free material. Some educational publishing companies hold copyrights on their materials and do not permit them to be shared online for free. If you’re found breeching their security, they can and will pursue you. You can get in trouble with your internet service provider, and may sometimes be required to pay a fine for illegally downloading protected material. If the material is for sale, you’re better off taking out your credit card than taking a huge risk.

It’s very easy to find helpful study materials online, and many websites offer these materials for free. Just make sure you err on the side of caution before you click that “download” button.

With an unquenchable love for writing and traveling, Sienna Walker works as a freelance blogger, often sharing her thoughts and suggestions with others online. Currently, Sienna is supporting Aubiz, a companies directory.



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