1. NSCS Members!
4. Facebook Page(s)
1. NSCS Members!
4. Facebook Page(s)
Want to win the Fellowes’ P-8C Shredder featured above? All you need to do is read the blog post below and leave a comment! In collaboration with Fellowes, Inc. and the Identity Theft Resources Center, NSCS will award a free shredder to one lucky reader who comments on the post!
There are some things you should never shred. Things like your masterpiece from third grade art class or a winning lottery ticket.
There are things you should sometimes shred. Things like a bad test or a birthday card from that aunt-who-isn’t-really-an-aunt.
Then there are things you should always shred. Things like account numbers, bank statements, old photo IDs and credit cards and checks–yes, even the ones you write VOID across in nice, big letters.
As college students, we often think we have nothing to offer identity thieves, so why would they even bother? Have you seen the black abyss that is my checking account?
But identity thieves can open credit cards in your name and do other bad things that will ruin your credit score, cost you thousands, and just generally wreak havoc on your life.
Danger is lurking in computer labs, your mailbox, local restaurants and your dorm room. That’s right: even in your dorm room. Keep sensitive documents locked up tight. It’s not that you can’t trust your roommate–although you may beg to differ–but you never know who your roommate will let in your room or who will just come on their own when they hear how awesome you are and want to check it out for themselves.
If you forget to log off of the computer you used in the lab, chances are you forgot to log out of your e-mail account, too. And do you know what is in your e-mail account? Bank statements. Credit card offers. Your name. Address. You get the picture.
The thing is, we all know the kinds of things we should shred. But do we do it? No. And do you know why? Because shredders are huge and loud and ugly. The good news is that Fellowes shredders are black, sleek, and look like something your next coffee might be coming out of.
The Fellowes shredder can sit on your desk, so you can shred with one hand while working on that essay due at midnight with the other. And the best part? This is not your mother’s shredder. It shreds documents into not 1, not 20, but into about 399 pieces. That’s more days than there are in a year! More hours there are in a day! More money than you could spend at Starbucks! (That last one might not be true.)
But, wait! There’s more! It can also handle credit cards, staples and paperclips that your sleep-deprived college student brain might otherwise forget to remove.
Instead of paying the $63.99 price tag–which, let’s admit, is less than that Xbox game or new pair of shoes we can somehow manage to afford–for a Fellowes shredder, you can win one! Yes, that means free. A college student’s favorite word. All you have to do is be your charming self and comment on this blog post in order to be entered into the giveaway. I’ll bet you never thought you could get so excited about a shredder.
Shay Quigley is a junior at East Carolina University majoring in public relations and media studies. She has been a member of NSCS since 2010, and is currently a Social Media Ambassador for NSCS, making it her mission to inform everyone that geek is chic. When she is not studying or reading, Shay is most likely eating carrots, pretending she is a ninja, and randomly scribbling down poetry and graphic design ideas. Follow her on Twitter @shayquig.
Today we’re giving away an NSCS water bottle and t-shirts. T-shirts are a women’s and a men’s large – you get both! All you need to do is read the blog post below and leave a comment!
I think a lot about security in my role as the IT Director of NSCS. We are always under attack, everyone is, but there are some things you can do to protect yourself. The easiest thing is to use good passwords everywhere you can and try not to repeat the same password on different sites. This is a huge challenge if you are password challenged as I am. I have a terrible memory for passwords, but I have found some great tools to help me out and make me safer.
First let’s take a very short look at what makes a good password. The first thing is length, the longer a password is the harder it is to crack. On sites that allow it I use a minimum of 25 characters in my passwords using upper and lower case characters, numbers and special characters. This makes for a tough password to break, but also a password impossible to memorize such as $N:&?Qr@4xXy2u`=xp;gKI*?T, so I use a password manager to keep all my passwords in order. A password manager uses one master password you memorize to open the manager, but it stores all the difficult passwords for you and will normally load them into the login forms for most web sites automatically.
For quite awhile I used Onepass and it worked great, it works on almost all PCs and phones and is simple to set up and manage. The downside for me was cost, each device is separate purchase and it began to add up. I would still be using it if I were not on so many different devices.
I moved to Keepass. It is open source and free and with some variants it is available on all the different computers and phones I use. I use one master file for all the devices that I keep on Dropbox to keep this master file synced up between everything. Keepass has plugins for most browsers so you can have the passwords put in automatically when go to a site, although some sites use custom coding to prevent that and require you to cut and paste a password in.
Password managers and long complicated passwords won’t eliminate all risks, but it does remove my worry when I hear a website has been looted for its user information, even if someone cracks my password for that site they can only get into the one site. For many people if crooks break the password on their football team’s fan site, they now have the password they use on all sites, and that is really scary.
Brett Abbott is a graduate of the University of Maryland University College and a long time systems manager who is now working with all the ins and outs of cloud based systems supporting a highly mobile user base. Working at NSCS has given him a new appreciation of how computer usage is evolving and how important it is for IT managers to keep up. When not at work Brett works on websites, loses to his son at computer games and hikes with his family as much as he can.
Want to win the NSCS iPhone case featured above? All you need to do is read the blog post below and leave a comment! In collaboration with Fellowes, Inc. and the Identity Theft Resources Center, each blog post will award a prize to one lucky reader who comments on the post!
Smartphones: these little suckers make it easy for us to navigate the world wide web whenever, and nearly wherever. Most students are unaware of the possibility of having their identities stolen. Sure, common sense dictates that using one of the college’s computers is very risky, but did you know that identity theft is still a possibility, even when you decide to access the web via your own smartphone? More importantly, have you ever considered the endless amount of information that could be stolen from you, should you ever lose your phone entirely? Here are a few tips that could save you from having yourself stolen:
1) Password protect your smartphone!, A whopping 67% of users, according to a study by GetSafeOnline.org, apparently do not take this crucial step: You can never be too careful. It’s not just what your friends might do to your during your quick trip to the bathroom, (such as posting “I smell like a horse” on your Facebook profile), should you lose your phone, a thief would have access to your emails, your contacts.
2) Don’t reuse passwords. You may be thinking: “Oh, it’s such a pain to keep too many passwords!” You’re right, but this laziness is a free ticket for an identity thief to get hold of your Facebook, bank, and credit card information all with a single attempt.
3) Be wary of scams. Thieves may pose as trustworthy entities such as a bank or a credit card company in a scheme commonly known as phishing. Through this, identity thieves attempt to “fish” out your confidential financial/personal information via email, text, or even through social networking websites like Facebook. Be cautious: let neither fancy writing nor legit-looking graphics fool you into immediately sending a response.
4) Don’t use nicknames in your contacts. For example, if your dad’s name is “Frank,” do not label him as “Dad.” If your boyfriend’s name is “Ken,” do not label him as “Babe <3.” Would you want to give identity thieves the privilege of possibly harming those close to you as well as yourself? I don’t think so.
5) Choose where to take calls wisely. Even the most subtle details about your life could be very useful information to persistent identity thieves. Feel free to discuss how boring math class was or how fun your afternoon date went with a friend on the phone, but be careful reciting social security numbers, credit cards numbers and other personal information.
6) Verify the apps you download. Certain apps have been designed to install keylogger software, spyware, among other kinds of software that follow the user’s activities in order to eventually obtain personal information. And be sure to verify the legitimacy of the app you are about to download: just last summer, Android users were targeted with fake Angry Birds malware apps.
7) Lastly, regardless of how tempting it may be, avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi connections. Whether you need to pay the bills or you want to buy a new pair of heels on Amazon, remember that unsecured Wi-Fi connections allow identity thieves to view all transactions made through the smartphone, thereby giving them a chance to steal your personal or financial information. And nope, not even Facebook is not the best way to kill time if you’re relying on an unsecured Wi-Fi connection!
Kendra Minoza is currently a sophomore at Houston Community College, taking biology as a pre-pharmacy major. Additionally, she is the NSCS chapter secretary at HCC. Kendra enjoys writing, public speaking, reading, drawing, and charcoal painting. Her love for tea and lack of “normal” hobbies (such as watching TV) has made people believe that she is “an old lady in disguise.”
I am not only a scholar, but also an avid gamer! My favorite type of game is Historical Fictional Video Games. History provides amazing plots and backdrops to a participatory cinematic experience. While gamers are transported to another time, they are also learning about history too. The stories may not be completely accurate, but gamers are able to get a fair amount of information that may help them on their next test! Here are a few of my favorites:
Oregon Trail (1830s)
This is the first original historical video game; this game has been around for YEARS! What was super frustrating was having my family die before we got to the destination! It made the journey real by having the gamers in charge of making hardcore decisions like whether to cross the river with your stead or to wait it out. This game was absolutely so much fun!
The American Girls Premiere (1776 – 1940)
I was so excited when this game came out! I know it definitely shows my age, but I was able to not only use plots from the books but also historical events that occurred during that time! My favorite thing was having my mom and dad watch my finished plays!
I got this game when I was in 7th grade! I loved playing RPGs and this game definitely was unappreciated. You had the option to make decisions and it impacted the game. The game follows the timeline of the ship’s untimely demise, but there is a mystery that is twisted within it! Knowing that the Titanic is going down, you realize that you are definitely running out of time. It’s worth a play!
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (1980s)
If you are looking for a game that isn’t set too far in the past, GTA: Vice City is the game for you! You can what the ’80s were all about without watching a Molly Ringwald movie. I love the free play in Rockstar games; you are able to do side missions or the main mission. It all depends on what you want to do! And if the clothes don’t give you a blast from the past, the music certainly will!
LA Noire (1940s)
LA Noire follows a detective as he solves tons of murders in LA. What is amazing about this game is that you had to use your intuition to figure out if someone is lying or telling the truth. Making the wrong accusation could make solving the case harder or longer. Rockstar games used the same technology that James Cameron used for Avatar! In comparison to Oregon Trail or Titanic: Adventure Out of Time its easy to see how far gaming technology has come.
Assassin’s Creed III (Late 1700s)
This is THE game that everyone is talking about! It will be released at the end of the October. This game is revolutionary because its the first time in the Assassin’s Creed series that the setting is the United States, its also the first time that the video game’s protagonist is Native American. (The companion game for the PS Vita, Assassin’s Creed III: Revelations features an African-American female as the lead.) Assassin’s Creed is creating serious buzz with their diverse characters.
Got any other history-based video games you like? Let me know in the comments section!
VaNessa Thompson is a graduate student at Lawrence Technological University majoring in Technical and Professional Communication. She graduated with a BA in Communication from Michigan State University where she was a NSCS member. Currently, she is one of NSCS’s Social Media Ambassadors and one of Dormify’s Style Advisors! In her free time, she blogs and vlogs! Feel free to tweet her @nessabirdie!