Note: This page provides context and links to resources for information purposes only, and does not offer specific advice. We highly recommend you review guides from organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for complete information.
For security on campus, refer to IT @ UMN’s Information Security Topics Page for official policies and software.
Making Decisions About the Data You Share Online
Any time you put your data online, whether you know it or not, you’re making a choice about the security of that data. Recognizing and combating security vulnerabilities in the online environment is increasingly important. There are numerous ways to safeguard your online activities. The resources below are intended to guide you through the process of making choices that best suit your data and workflow.
Recommended resources for learning about personal information security and finding out about specific tools and software you can use to protect your information:
- Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Self-Defense Kit: Tips, Tools and How-tos for Safer Online Communications
- A DIY Guide to Feminist Cybersecurity
- How to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour
Some of the topics covered in these guides are:
- What it is: HTTPS secures communication between your browser and websites through encrypted traffic.
- How it helps: HTTPS confirms you are on the correct website and protects information going between your browser and services you’re using.
- Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- What it is: VPN is an extra layer of security that protects not just browsing, but all internet traffic.
- How it helps: VPN gives you a private connection even when you’re using a public internet connection (e.g. in a coffee shop.)
- What it is: Encryption protects data by making it extremely difficult to read unless your have the ‘key’ (either a password or something else) to unlock it. Hard drives can be encrypted. Email can be encrypted.
- How it helps: When done correctly encryption prevents your data/information/messages from being read by others even if they gain access to it.
- Secure Passwords/Password Managers
- What it is: Password managers are applications that allow you to store your passwords to use later. They also can generate unique passwords for you to use.
- How it helps: Secure passwords can be hard to remember -- especially if you do it right and have a different one for each account. These tools not only generate secure passwords, for you, they manage them and synch across your devices to that you always have the password you need.