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Think before you click – tips securing your learning environment

Published: 07th October 2019 Last updated: 27th March 2020

Are you using one of the ten most frequently used passwords? No time to check whether your computer, laptop, or smartphone is secure? Here is an overview of easy tips and tricks to help secure your online learning environment.

Narrowcasting awareness week

October is Cyber Security Month in Europe. This annual EU campaign aims to raise awareness of cyber security threats. Tilburg University fully endorses this campaign and that is why this week Library & IT Services gives you tips about online security and privacy.

Safe passwords

Are you using one of the ten most frequently used passwords below? If you are, change it as quickly as you can, especially if you are using it for several accounts.

  • 123456
  • qwerty
  • 123456789
  • welkom
  • 12345
  • password
  • welkom01
  • wachtwoord
  • 1234
  • 1234578

How do I create a strong password?

  • Think of a one-liner, lyrics from a song, or another line that you can remember easily and use the first letters of each word to set your password. Also use capital letters and punctuation marks.
  • Use a unique password for every single one of your accounts. Cyber criminals often try to log on to as many different online services as possible using a single stolen password. And even the website you used to set your password can be hacked. Single-account passwords prevent hackers from accessing all or more of your accounts if they can only get their hands on one of your passwords.
  • Whenever possible use two-step authentication: in addition to your password a second step is required for identification, for example a text message (SMS) or a code generated by a smartphone app such as Google Authenticator.

Up-to-date firewall

No time to check whether your computer, laptop, or smartphone is secure? But you do! Protecting your files is a breeze and can even be done while you are sleeping. So run updates frequently and make backups regularly.

Are you always up-to-date with the latest firewalls? We advise you to:

  • download an anti-virus program on your computer, tablet, and smartphone. It protects you against cyber attacks. Enable automatic updates.
  • let the anti-virus program regularly scan your devices for infections, for instance, once a month.
  • always enable the firewall if provided, so that the connections between the device and the internet are monitored.

Unauthorized access to your private data: Whatsapp and texting (SMS)

Cyber criminals not only use phishing e-mails to get to you, but also Whatsapp and texting. Using Whatsapp, they pose as an acquaintance or relative and ask you to transfer money to an unknown account. Fake text messages often state a bank as the sender, a common ploy to try and get hold of your online banking security codes.

What to do when you accidentally click on a phishing link

Contact IT Support straightaway. Has the hacker managed to lay their hands on private data? Report the hack to the Data Protection Officer (DPO) at The DPO will then decide whether the hack is a data breach that must be reported to the Data Protection Authority.

More practical tips

Lock your campus computer
Use a privacy screen
Use a webcam cover