Typically, October equals Halloween. The month of October is also national cyber security awareness month. Sure it’s all about the haunted houses, frightening decorations, and scary costumes. Do you know what else is scary? Viruses and malware. These two often occur when an abundance of internet searches occur. What group of people spend a significant amount of time on laptops, tablets, phones? I’d say college students.I attend James Madison University, a student body of over 20,000. Think about the amount of Macs and PCs crash on students each day. I see students at the tech center furious that their laptops crashed in the middle of submitting an 8-page paper they pulled an all-nighter to finish. College students are always surfing the net, plugging in password after password to social media, emails, online homework. An important way students can improve their personal Internet security is as simple as strengthening their passwords. I know it’s now mandatory at my university. James Madison makes all students and faculty members change their passwords every 30 day, as I am sure most institutions across the country do. But, on top of that, each person is asked a series of questions the duration of when logged on, in order to view grades, tuition statements, etc. It’s annoying! But serves a vital purpose. Protecting personal devices and information is a huge part of cyber security. A few helpful tips to remember this month: keep a clean machine, users should always install the newest software updates, manage mobile apps, update and delete ones that aren’t used, and lastly enable multi-factor authentication for email accounts. This month make the effort to educate yourself and the people around you about cyber security!