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
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 Coronavirusfirstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Read: The NCSC’s guide to spotting and dealing with phishing emails
- Report all phishing emails by sending them to IT Services
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:
- Sophos Home (Free version) for Windows and Mac
- Sophos Antivirus for Linux
- Sophos Security and Antivirus Guard for Android
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.
- You can find further information about IT support and working from home on the University’s coronavirus StaffNet site .
- Action Fraud: Coronavirus-related frauds increase by 400% in March
- National Cyber Security Centre: Stay safe online – top tips for staff