Cybersecurity Information for Students

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There are many cyber security threats out there, but it is important to remember that most of them are avoidable.

Looking for more resources?

Beware, unexpected student job offers are often scams!


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Job offer scams typically work like this: someone contacts you, usually by email, and invites you to apply for or start a job. Learn more about Job Offer Scams

Don't get fooled! For information about protecting yourself from scams, see Beware of Scams

See the latest phishing messages received by UCSC students, staff, and faculty. Visit The Phish Bowl before you interact with unexpected, urgent, or too good to be true emails.


Share with Care!

Assume that any information you enter online is public unless you are using a known, trusted, secure site.


checkmark imageUpdates fix problems in your operating system (the basic program that runs your computer/device) software and apps. Out-of-date and unpatched devices are especially vulnerable to viruses and hackers. To protect yourself:

  • Turn on automatic updates for your computer, antivirus, and all apps that you have.
  • Install updates when your programs tell you they are available.
  • Shut down or restart your computer once a week. This helps make sure software and security updates are properly installed to protect your computer and keep it running smoothly.
  • For mobile devices, remember to sync often so you get available updates. Always install updates when your carrier tells you they are available.

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

  • 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 and could be subject to University, criminal, and/or civil sanctions. Please see ITS’ Copyright Education web site for more information.
  • Improperly configured filesharing software can allow others access to your entire computer, not just to the files you intend to share. 
  • Viruses and malware can be transmitted by filesharing software. 
  • Files offered by others may not always be what they say they are. 

What can you do?

  • #1: Run up-to-date anti-malware software. This is required for Macs and PCs on campus!
    Free software for students...
  • #2: Make sure your filesharing software is configured only to share the files you intend to share.
  • Also, turn filesharing off when you’re not actively using it to avoid unknowingly sharing personal or copyrighted files.
  • Other tips to avoid malware...
  • Additional information about filesharing is also available on OnGuardOnline.gov's web site.

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, videos, and other services is available from Educause at Legal Sources of Online Content.


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Google is great for email and all of its many apps and tools.

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  • Send and store files securely with Virtru

Additional Google security tips:


Protect all your devices. Imagine that your phone or other mobile device was lost or stolen. What information did they get? Which of your accounts and credit cards can they use? Only store information you’re willing to lose.

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See Mobile Devices and Wireless for information about:

  • protecting mobile devices
  • prevention in case of theft or loss
  • wireless security

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Random wireless hotspots can steal your passwords and information.


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

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  • Don’t share your password with anyone. ITS will never ask you for your password. Neither should anyone else. Learn more "Protect Passwords"
  • It is important to have unique passwords for each account, but remembering all of them can be difficult. Password Managers are a safe way to digitally store all of your passwords until you need them. Learn about password managers

Whether you live in the dorms, an on-campus apartment, or off-campus, be sure to keep your door locked to help prevent theft -- and don't rig your dorm room door to just push open. Lock your vehicle and keep valuables out of sight, better yet don't store them in your vehicle at all. Keep an eye on your backpack in public places. Although it is easy to feel safe on campus or living with other students, thefts happen and items go missing every week!