Being Safe Online
The internet is, inevitably, an integral part of working and studying at the University of Adelaide. By protecting yourself online, you are contributing to the secure computing environment at the University.
Smart phones, tablets and personal computers are used on a daily basis at the University. Because these devices often contain information which is vital to the University’s teaching, learning and research initiatives, it is important they are kept secure.
The internet is a great place to access and share information with friends and colleagues. Unfortunately, the internet is also used by criminals to commit fraud and cause harm. To protect yourself, your computer or smart device, and the University from harm, it is important to be aware of the following SecureIT advice.
Turn off browsing features you aren't using
Internet browsers often come with features to enhance your web experience. These features, however, can be exploited by hackers to steal your personal information. The more browser options and functions you turn off, the safer your internet access will be.
Make sure you're at your intended destination
Your browser’s address bar can help you identify a fraudulent website. Hackers will often build fake websites, known as "phishing" sites, to solicit personal information such as your password or banking details. Phishing sites will masquerade as a legitimate business (such as the University) so they appear more convincing.
Download content only from websites you trust
The internet is a great place for accessing resources that benefit the University’s learning and teaching environment. Websites may not always be what they seem, however. Hackers will sometimes hijack a legitimate website in order to distribute their malicious software to unsuspecting visitors. This software can hide itself on your computer and steal your passwords and financial information.
Stop and think before you enter your password into a website
Tip: Bookmark University webpages that require you to enter your username and password. Visit these pages only via your bookmarks and avoid clicking on email links to get there.
Your University password is your online key into the University. Just like your house key, it should be carefully guarded.
Hackers will often try to trick staff and students into giving up their password by pretending to be the University. Always stop and think before you enter your password online.
Example of a webpage with the correct domain name and a secure connection:
Portable devices such as smart phones and tablets have become an important part of working and studying at the University. Because these devices store information such as contacts, emails and documents it’s important that they are looked after.
Below is some SecureIT advice for keeping your smart device secure.
Set a passcode and enable automatic lock
Because mobile devices can easily be misplaced or stolen, it is a good idea to set a passcode (or PIN code) on your smart phone or tablet. Setting your device to automatically lock will prevent thieves from accessing your emails, phone numbers and social networking information.
You can find more information on configuring a passcode or PIN in the following guides:
Turn on device tracking
Many smart phones and tablets now come with built-in GPS (global positioning system) functionality. You can use this feature to locate your device in the event it is stolen or goes missing.
Install apps only from authors you trust
Avoid storing private information on your smart phone or tablet
Mobile devices are great for providing instant access to all your information on the go. Because these devices follow us wherever we go, they are susceptible to being lost or stolen. Avoid storing sensitive information such as banking details, passwords or addresses on your mobile device, or use a password manager to store it securely.
Avoid using public wifi hotspots to access sensitive information
University-managed computers offer a range of security features which protect staff and students from various online threats. Many of us, however, work from our own personal computer that we bring from home.
Below is some SecureIT advice for increasing the security of your personal computer.
Install security software and update it regularly
Security software such as antivirus, anti-spyware or personal firewall will help protect your computer from viruses, spyware and hackers. You can choose to either install these products separately, or use an all-in-one suite that bundles them together.
Turn on automatic updates to protect your computer from hackers
Software companies regularly issue free updates to fix security problems in their software. These fixes are called patches and should be applied regularly to prevent hackers from gaining access to your computer.
Most operating systems and application software can be configured to update automatically. Check your program settings for a ‘check for updates’ option.
Microsoft is no longer providing support or patches for Windows 7. This can leave your computer vulnerable to hackers as security problems are no longer being fixed. If you are using Windows 7, we strongly recommend that you upgrade your personal computer to Windows 10.
Lock your screen when you are not using your computer
Your personal computer is an essential tool for working and studying at the University. Because it contains important files including emails, passwords and other sensitive information you should protect your computer at all times.
Here are some simple steps you can take to safeguard your personal computer:
Set a strong password and change it from time to time