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Staying safe while you're online

We all use laptops, tablets, and phones to access the internet. We click onto many different sites, apps, emails accounts, and online banking every day. Some of the sites we use store our personal information which we want kept confidential.                         

Make sure your password is secure

  • Make passwords difficult for potential hackers to guess by avoiding using personal information like your middle name, pet names – things people may work out.
  • Include a mixture of letters and numbers, including capital letters and punctuation, most sites will indicate whether the password is strong.
  • Change your password immediately if you think your account has been compromised.
  •  It is useful to change your password once every 3 months.

Your privacy

Keeping your money in a bank is a good idea but remember to keep the cards and PIN numbers secure. You may want to think about whether you need to save your card details on your computer or online – it is best not to in case you are hacked. Some banks allow you to use your voice as your password, if they do, this is something that no one else can imitate so setting up voice recognition is an added level of security.

Prevention is better than cure

  • Download antivirus software on your devices and keep it up to date to help protect you from viruses and malware.
  • If you want advice on which antivirus software might be best for you, please speak to our IT team. You can contact them on helpdesk@stmarys.ac.uk

This is a no Phishing zone

What is a ‘Phishing email or message?

  • Phishing is an attempt to trick people into opening malicious email attachments which fraudsters use to steal personal information, email logins and passwords, and banking details.
  • An example might be an email claiming to provide you with a list of active coronavirus infection cases in your area, but to access information you need to click on a link which redirects you to a credential-stealing page.
  • If it doesn’t look authentic don’t open it and report to Action Fraud.
  • Sometimes criminals make scam phone calls pretending to be from your bank or HMRC. Most banks exclusively say they will never contact a customer via the phone. If you are unsure, hang up and call your bank directly using the customer services number on the back of your bank card to check.
  • Read staysafeonline.org article on ‘5 ways to spot a phishing email’.

This is a useful article to read from the BBC: The Secret to Staying Safe Online

Shop safely online

Online shopping is easy, convenient and quite frankly essential in 2020 so far! That said, not all sites are trustworthy. Please check you are buying from legitimate sellers and use a credit card if possible as you will have more protection should your goods not arrive.

If you have an IT security issue, for example if you have received a suspicious looking email to your University email account, you can contact the St Mary’s IT Helpdesk by calling 020 8240 4061 or email helpdesk@stmarys.ac.uk.