Cyber Security Information for Students

security imageThere are many cyber security threats out there, but it is important to remember that most of them are avoidable. The information and links below will point you to ways to better protect yourself against some common cyber security threats. For additional cyber security dos and don'ts, check out ITS' "Top 10 List" of Good Computing Practices.


Make sure others don’t have the chance to use your accounts maliciously!

  • Don’t share your password with anyone. ITS will never ask you for your password. Neither should anyone else.
  • Always use cryptic passwords that can’t be easily guessed. See the "Top 10 List" or "Protect Passwords" page for additional information and tips.


Criminals and hackers continue to come up with schemes designed to compromise computers, steal personal or private information or passwords, or trick you out of money. Don't get fooled! For information about protecting yourself from scams, see

INTERNET PRIVACY (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.)

A good rule of thumb is to only post information you would be willing to put on a banner in a public place. 
Assume that any information you enter online is public unless you are using a known, trusted, secure site. Social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), personal web pages, and blogs are great places for people to find personal information about you. For tips on protecting your privacy online, go to


googleGoogle is great for email and all of its many apps and tools. Don’t forget to protect your account and any private information, though. Google security and privacy information is available at

Additional Google security tips:


Imagine that your phone or other mobile device was lost or stolen. In addition to the device, what information did they get? Which of your accounts and credit cards can they use? Phones and mobile devices need to be protected just like any other computer. Only store information you’re willing to lose. See for information about

  • protecting mobile devices
  • a checklist for lost/stolen portable devices
  • prevention in case of theft or loss
  • wireless security

deviceA special note about mobile devices with GPS:

If your device has GPS, you may be sharing information about your location when you post to the Internet. GPS-enabled phones can also embed location information in pictures.  It is a good idea to review the privacy settings on the sites you use to see if you can limit who can see your location information.

More information about Facebook Location/Check-In Services is available at and


Filesharing can expose your computer to a number of security risks. For example,

  • Although filesharing is not in itself illegal, if you share or download copyrighted material without permission – even unwittingly – you are breaking both the law and UC policy. 
  • Improperly configured filesharing software can allow others access to your entire computer, not just to the files you intend to share. 
  • Viruses and other malware can be transmitted by filesharing software. 
  • Files offered by others may not always be what they say they are, and may even be malicious. 

What can you do?

  • Run up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware.
  • Make sure your filesharing software is configured only to share the files you intend to share.
  • Turn filesharing off when you’re not actively using it to avoid unknowingly sharing personal or copyrighted files.
  • See Beware of Scams for tips to help avoid malware. Additional information is also avalable on's web site.

More About Copyright
The University takes copyright law very seriously. If you share copyrighted material without permission, you are breaking the law and could be subject to University, criminal, and/or civil sanctions. It is up to you to ensure that your use of copyrighted materials is legal. Please see ITS’ Copyright Education web site for more information, including information about campus, civil and criminal penalties for violation of copyright laws. 

Legal Filesharing Services
We strongly encourage you to use legal filesharing services for obtaining music, movies, TV, games, books, etc. on the Internet. A large list of digital music, video, and other services is available from Educause at


EDUCAUSE conducted a security awareness video and poster contest for college students earlier this year.

The contest was for original videos (two minutes or less) and posters about information security problems and how best to handle them. The winning videos and posters are featured on EDUCAUSE's website.


Check out ITS' Security web site for additional information and resources for safer computing, including the "Top 10 List" of Good Computing Practices


If you ever have a question about a cyber security issue, contact the ITS Support Center

Rev. September 2013