Alert online: digital security for all
We are almost constantly online, at the university, at home, or en route, with our smartphones, tablets, or PCs. Fortunately, we are increasingly aware of the security risks involved: with one mouse click, we can inadvertently infect our own computer or even an entire network.
Being aware of potential risks is therefore very important. Do you know what you can do to reduce the risk? We want to spread knowledge on online security by means of our Alert Online campaign. We will do so by providing practical tips and tricks about safe behavior online, on campus, at home, and en route.
On-campus IT security tips
- Never react to phishing e-mails asking for usernames and passwords. Tilburg University will never e-mail you to request such information.
- Create strong passwords and change them regularly via Selfservice university account.
- Lock your computer if you leave it, even for a moment.
- Report suspicious cyber activity to our university’s Computer Emergency Response Team. CERT contributes to IT security on campus. The CERT website contains tips, answers to frequently asked questions, and much more information on IT security.
- Observe the provisions of the Code of Conduct on the use of e-mail, internet, and telephone (Gedragscode e-mail, internet and telefoonfaciliteiten, in Dutch).
IT security at home or en route
Install anti-virus software
Use anti-virus software to protect your computer, tablet, and smartphone and enable automatic updates. In addition, let the anti-virus software frequently scan your devices for infection, for instance, once a month. Always enable the firewall, if provided, so that the connections between the device and the internet can be monitored.
Install software updates
Producers of operating systems, browsers, and other programs like Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader, and Oracle Java, regularly provide updates to remedy security flaws. Malicious parties can exploit these security vulnerabilities to gain access to your computer, so keep your software up-to-date and enable future automatic updates wherever possible. In other cases, check at least once a month whether updates are available and install them.
Create strong passwords and change them frequently
It is important to use passwords that people cannot easily guess for computers, smartphones, websites, and online services, especially for such crucial systems as DigiD or your own WiFi network. Do not use the same password everywhere, regularly change passwords (e.g., every year), do not share them with others by responding to phishing e-mails, and do not save them in the internet browser of in a non-encrypted file on your computer.
Wherever possible, use two-factor authentication. It is a safer login method because a second or third authentication is required, for example, a question to which only the user knows the answer, or an authentication code via a text message.
Only make connections with trusted WiFi networks
If you use a public and non-secure WiFi network, others can
potentially see what you are doing on the internet and what data you are
sending. Therefore, do
not send sensitive data [IS1] (e-mail, online banking information) over networks that you are not
familiar with or do not trust.
Do not open messages and files that you do not trust
Have you received an unexpected message with an attachment, (shortened) hyperlink, or request to log on to a system? Use your common sense and ignore it, even if you know the sender. Only accept a message if you expected to receive it from a particular sender. Remove spam immediately.
Only install alls from official app stores
Apps for smartphones or tablets can also contain malware. Therefore, only install apps through the official app stores and do not use illegal copies. Check carefully what data the app wants to access. Check out experiences of other users to get an impression of the reliability of the app.
Check the URLs of websites
Check the web address (URL) and the certificate (the little padlock in the browser’s address bar) to determine that you are not visiting a fake or unsafe website. If there is no padlock, do not fill out any sensitive data on this website. Use bookmarks (favorites) for websites that you visit frequently and pay extra attention when opening shortened URLs which are often used on social networks to minimize the number of characters.
Close pop-ups in your browser with Alt+F4
Never click Agree, OK, the ‘X’ or no to close a pop-up: you may unintentionally end up installing malware. A pop-up is best closed with ‘Alt+F4’. You can also install a pop-up filter to block pop-ups.
Who do you want to share information with on the internet?
It is very easy to place something on the internet, but it is very difficult to remove it again. So consider carefully what you want to share on the internet and with whom. Protect your social network sites well and be selective in who gets access to your profile and data. If you provide your data online, check who stores them, how long data will be stored, and to what third parties the data will be disclosed. Do not volunteer any more personal data than you think is necessary.
If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Be on the alert if you encounter suspicious cyber activity.