Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Search the University of Manchester siteSearch Menu StaffNet

Staying safe online while working from home

25 Mar 2020

Read IT Services’ and the Information Governance Office’s information on staying cyber-safe while working off campus

Working from home

This advice is correct at the time of publication of this news article.  

If you have health concerns then you should refer to the NHS website, however to make other queries regarding the current situation you can email

As homeworking increases in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued warnings about phishing attacks.

Is that email legitimate? 

Bogus emails may contain links claiming to have important updates on coronavirus. If you click on a link in a bogus email, then your computer or mobile device has a significant risk of being infected. Never, ever click on any links sent to you which you weren’t expecting. 

Everyone needs to be vigilant of any communication that tries to entice you into clicking links, downloading documents or giving away information such as usernames or passwords. 

Malicious fake websites may infect your computer 

Another risk is from fake websites, such as those which are masquerading as legitimate information for coronavirus. 

The US government’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has reported on one example which is pretending to be a live map for coronavirus cases created by Johns Hopkins University. Users who click through to this website are being infected with malware. 

Holding your personal files to ransom 

Ransomware is malicious software which blocks a user’s access to their files by encrypting them, and demanding that a ransom is paid for the files to be recovered. If a file is sufficiently encrypted then it will be completely unrecoverable unless the decryption key is provided. 

  • If you are infected by ransomware please request a call back from the IT Support Centre immediately by visiting the IT Support Portal 

Anti-virus software on all your computers – not just Windows 

University managed desktop and laptop computers come with McAfee Endpoint security already installed. 

However, anyone using a device other than a University managed computer should install an anti-virus application. 

In the past, it was believed that only computers running Microsoft Windows could be infected by viruses and other malicious software. However, this is no longer the case. Apple Mac, Linux and Android users are at an increasing risk from malicious software.  

Download the free versions of Sophos software: 

Please note that this is not an official endorsement; the University is not responsible for the content of external websites or the performance and support of the above software. 

While security software provides additional protection against attacks, you must still always be vigilant when using University (and other) online services. 

More information