Staying safe online

We often take IT for granted, including using our computers and mobile phones to access social networking, online banking, and other account-based websites and services.

To keep yourself and safe online you should be aware of potential dangers and threats to your security, and the measures you can take to protect your personal information.

Security – safe computing

Wherever possible the University’s IT Services protect you from malicious or accidental damage, corruption, destruction or misuse.

This not only includes the physical security of the machines and devices you use on campus, but also the security of your University account, your print credit, your personal and online identity and privacy and the security of the information and data we create or have access to.

There is support and advice available to help you avoid the mistakes that are so easily made but a lot of the malicious activity online is very credible.

Always be alert to the potential and if in doubt check with the IT Service Desk.

Mobile security

There are simple steps you should take to protect your mobile device and the data that is on it.

Setup a security password or PIN number on your mobile phone. When the device is not used for a period of time, it will lock and need the security code to be used again, adding protection if the device is mislaid or stolen.

Make regular back-ups of any data that is on your device, such as photos and documents. If you access your University email account on your mobile you don’t need to worry about backing up this data as it is stored centrally at the University.

However, if you have photos, notes, documents, video, audio or additional data aside from your University email account, you should regularly back-up this data to your computer.

Email viruses, scams, spam and phishing

Despite the best efforts of robust University systems, we know from experience that scammers target our staff and students with malicious emails – and many people will, unfortunately, become victims of fraud as a result.

A phishing email is a fake email message that claims to be from an organisation you may trust. For example, a company, bank, government or from the University.  In previous years, we’ve seen fake emails that look like they’ve come from Amazon, Royal Mail, and also the University.

Even the most cautious person can fall victim to crime through fraudulent emails.

Always check your emails to see if they are genuine and make sure you don’t give out personal information. To help you stay safe, follow these top tips:

  • Check all links within emails before clicking on them–Before clicking on a link, hover your mouse over it and you will see the web address appear in a preview box. It may well be different from the visible text that you can see in the email. This can give you a clue that the email is not genuine.
  • Never give out your personal information– No legitimate organisation will ask for your personal details by email. For example, a bank would never ask for your bank account, PIN, password or contact details via email.
  • Do not open attachments from people you don’t know or if you’re not expecting them– Your bank, the government, and reputable companies like the Royal Mail, eBay or Amazon, rarely send attachments.
  • Be wary of these common phrases– Watch out for instructions like “verify your account” or “if you don’t respond within xx hours, your account will be closed.”
  • Look out for spelling mistakes and poor grammar– Read the email carefully. If you spot spelling mistakes or poor grammar, this may be a sign that the message is a phishing email.

The IT Services website includes a list of recent email attacks that will help give you an idea of the kinds of messages to look out for.

Need some help?

For more information about protecting your personal information and digital assets visit the Safe Computing pages on the IT services website.

If you need advice on University IT facilities or security issues, you can also use the IT Services self-service portal to read FAQs and contact the team.