Why do I need to be careful?

Our online activities create virtual representations of ourselves—faculty, staff, and/or student—both as individuals and professionally. Our digital identities are just as much of a target to criminals as our real-world identities and we need to take precautions to protect ourselves.

IT security affects the entire university community—one compromised or infected computer can impact the productivity of everyone connected to the university network. IT security is a collective responsibility.

What steps can I take to protect myself?

  1. Be Cautious When Browsing
    Keep your browser up to date with high security settings. Be wary of free software. Watch where you go and, always, think before you click. Think about how you’re connecting to the Internet and act accordingly: are you on a secure network or on free wireless supplied anonymously? Be careful with applications on your mobile device. Ensure that you have a suitable anti-virus software installed. Ensure that your home Internet connection is secured.

  2. Use Strong Passwords
    Having a strong password is an essential step in protecting your information from theft. Learn about setting strong passwords.

  3. Learn About Phishing
    Phishing is a method to trick people into providing sensitive information such as banking and credit card deals as well as passwords. There are things that you can look for to help you identify if an email is legitimate or a phishing attempt. Learn what to watch out for to identify a phishing attempt.

  4. Use a Software Firewall 
    The U of S provides network-level firewall protection but be sure to use any built-in firewall software available for your computer and mobile devices. Set security levels high. See your operating system's security information to learn more about built-in options (Windows, Mac).

  5. Use Anti-spyware Software 
    Protect yourself from spyware that can gather personal information without your knowledge. Some computer systems offer built-in anti-spyware software – turn it on. There are also some good options on the market, such as Malwarebytes and Spybot.

What else can I do?

Take IT Security Awareness Training

Online information security training is available to all members of the university community. The training modules take you through best practices for how to protect your personal information and contribute to a safe information technology environment for the university. 

Back up and Protect Your Data

Back up your data regularly. The university's file storage services are automatically backed up. Instead of using a cloud storage services such as DropBox, iCloud or Amazon, the university provides an individual file sharing and storage service that is a private, secure alternative for your university-related files. If you need to use a public cloud storage service consider encrypting your data before saving to the cloud. Think about where your data is going.