Back to School Cyber Security Tips

September 11, 2016
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The following are a few quick and easy steps you can take to increase your online safety: 

Think before you click - Phishing scams rely on our tendency to click first, think later. Phishing scams in particular can be incredibly believable - they are designed to look legitimate to abuse your trust. The scammers are getting better and better at disguising themselves quite cleverly.  Always think before you click!

St. Thomas will NEVER ask you for your password in an email.  Never respond to a request for your password sent by e-mail, even if the request appears legitimate. You can contact the Tech Desk at 651.962.6230 or via email at

Create strong Passwords – If your device or program comes with a built-in password, change it. The default password is no doubt readily available on the Internet.  

  1. For accounts that matter to you, use different passwords so if one account is compromised, only one account is compromised.  Use a unique password for each of your important accounts. 
  2. Use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols in your password.
  3. Don't use personal information or common words as a password.
  4. Consider using a sentence for your password.   
  5. If you have more accounts than you can count on one hand, consider using a password manager to remember the passwords for you.


Keep your programs up-to-date - Android OS, Apple iOS, Windows, Mac, and many software products have automated update features. Turn them on. Software developers make mistakes - that's what the updates fix. If your car had a factory defect that might leave you stranded on the side of the road, and offered a free fix, you'd take them up on it, right? This is the same thing.


Install Internet Security Software (Antivirus Software AV) – You’ve got a lot of things to work about like grades and making it to class on time.  Installing antivirus software on your computer gives you one less thing to worry about.  AV is one of the easiest ways to protect your computer against cyber-attacks.  A good AV will help protect your computer against viruses, phishing scams, and other types of malware.  Make sure to set it to update automatically. 

Did you know - ITS offers Microsoft Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) for both Mac and PC computers free to all faculty, staff and students? SCEP is available on the Anti-virus webpage.