Faculty + Staff

Be alert for cybersecurity scams as the school year begins

Simple habits can help protect your information, privacy, pocketbook and work

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Computer security
Christoph Scholz/Flickr

August and September is an exciting time at UC as the new academic year begins and campuses hum with renewed energy. It’s also an exciting time for hackers, identity thieves and other unscrupulous types who take advantage of people during this busy time of year.

Watch out for typical beginning-of-the-year scams:

  • Email supposedly containing “important information about your UC account,” or a “problem with your account”
  • “Tech support” scams where you get a call supposedly from “ResNet” or “the Service Desk” or even “Microsoft” or “Apple” telling you there’s a problem with your computer
  • For those of you with children who are college students, beware of IRS impersonators demanding that you wire money immediately to pay a fake "federal student tax"
  • Messages asking for your login information, no matter how legitimate they may look.
  • Fake friend requests on social media (Facebook, etc.)
  • Fake Dropbox or Google Doc notices
  • And the list goes on…

Keep what’s private, private

The start of the school year is also a great time to think about your online presence. What you post online can live forever, and you can’t fully control who sees it. To better own your online presence:

  • Choose your privacy and security settings; don’t use defaults.
  • If you wouldn’t want your employer or colleagues to see it, don’t post it.
  • Don’t share info or photos about others that you wouldn’t want shared about you.

Eight good cybersecurity habits

Here are simple habits that can help protect your information, privacy, pocketbook, family, friends and work.

  1. Always think twice before clicking on links or opening attachments.
  2. Verify requests for private information (yours or anyone’s), even if the request seems to come from someone you know. Con artists know how to fake their identity.
  3. Protect your passwords. Make them long and strong, never reveal them to anyone, and use multi-factor authentication (also called two-step authentication) wherever possible.
  4. Protect your stuff! Lock it up or take it with you before you leave. And password-protect all of your devices.
  5. Keep a clean machine! Keep your devices, apps, browsers, and anti-virus/anti-malware software patched and up to date.
  6. Back up critical files. Store backups in a physically separate location from the originals, and test them periodically.
  7. Delete sensitive information when you are done with it. UC employees: Follow the UC records retention schedule.
  8. If it’s suspicious, report it!

Have questions or need more help?

If you have questions about how to protect yourself, your information and UC, please contact your campus IT department.

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