We all realize we need to protect our data from hackers.

Break Through Tech Chicago students learned to be aware of other possible information-stealers, too.

The process is called “threat modeling,” and students in the introductory computer science course CS 100 were walked through it by Chris Kanich, PhD, an associate professor of computer science at UIC.

The first step: think of what you want to protect. Laptops and phones. Credit cards. Emails and text messages. Next up: think about who might threaten the security of those things. Cyber criminals, of course. Hackers, check. Classmates and roommates? Worth considering. Finally, brainstorm about controls that could ward off attacks: strong passwords, antivirus software, turning off GPS location tracking, and more.

“You have to be aware of the ‘attack surface,’ which is all of the things you can be attacked through to get at your assets,” Kanich advised, “and your operational security, what you do on a day to day basis to protect yourself and others.”