Oct. 13, 2022

How to protect your data from hackers and scammers

October is Cybersecurity Month and UCalgary wants to help protect your digital identity
Think Privacy
Join us on Oct. 26 for Think Privacy your Cybersecurity Checkup Webinar

Cybercrime may sound like a word straight out of a sci-fi novel, but digital crimes are real — and they happen all the time. From phishing scams to malware, it’s important to stay vigilant and educated to avoid getting your information stolen. This Cybersecurity Month, the University of Calgary’s IT department wants to provide you with the best tips for staying safe online.

When it comes to cybersecurity, prevention is key. Installing up-to-date anti-virus/anti-malware software can keep your machine from getting infected. Ransomware attacks — in which your data is stolen, and a price must be paid to retrieve it — can be mitigated by backing up your data on external hard drives or uploading it to the cloud. It can also help to ensure your devices are regularly updated and have all the newest security patches.

Something else to look out for is phishing, which is the act of impersonating a person, corporation or institution online to gain access to someone’s personal data. Phishing emails have become more refined and difficult to discern from real emails over the past two decades.

However, there are still some elements that might give away a phishing scam such as misspelled words, suspicious links and numbers, or an unknown sender. If you feel an email is suspicious, the best course of action is to report it to IT via reportphishing@ucalgary.ca, or, if on a personal device, block the sender and delete the email.

Perhaps the most overlooked part of cybersecurity is social media safety. With so many apps dedicated to showing the world who you are, where you’ve been and what you look like, it’s easy to lose sight of privacy. Remember, what you post on the internet stays on the internet, even after you delete it.

Be mindful of what you share and, remember, it’s a good practice to ask permission before posting pictures of others. Geo-locators, which provide the website and sometimes other users with your location, can also be turned off. Make sure you are reviewing and using every app’s privacy settings to the highest potential that is comfortable for you. Examples include restricting who can view your profile and learning how to block and report potential threats within the app.

For more tips and tricks on how to protect your privacy and information online, check out the Think Privacy – Your Cybersecurity Checkup webinar hosted by IT and university legal counsel. The webinar will take place Oct. 26 with guest speakers Mark Sly, director, IT security and architecture, and Jennifer Sinclair, co-ordinator, FOIP, university legal counsel.

For more information on cybersecurity, visit the Top 10 Cybersecurity Tips page and check out the new Privacy and Cybersecurity Awareness Course on D2L