The University of Newcastle, Australia

Online safety and security

Staying safe online protects both you and those you interact with online, including your fellow students, University teaching staff, family and friends

Safe computing practices include a combination of:

  • using software to protect your information,
  • managing your security settings,
  • your physical actions with regards to the devices you use

Top tips for staying safe online

  • Always use unique passwords.
  • Think before you click. Did you know 90% of cyberattacks start with an email? Clicking a dodgy link or opening a rogue attachment are the most common ways of starting a cyber security compromise.
  • Install virus software. All students can download Sophos Home Premium for free to protect their devices.
  • Keep your operating system up-to-date. This means installing all those updates whenever they come up, or applying settings for them to run automatically.
  • Back up your data. You can use University approved file storage with automatic backups so that if you do get targeted by an attack you won't lose your data. You are responsible for looking after your own data and ensuring it is backed up and available when you need it. Did you know that University of Newcastle students get free access to OneDrive, Microsoft’s online file storage service?
  • Turn on Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). This is an additional layer of security, similar to what you might experience when banking online, that makes your access to University online services much more secure.

  • Care for your stuff. Do not leave your device or computer unlocked or unattended in public spaces, including at uni.
  • Check before you connect. Be cautious of using free wifi networks, particularly for online shopping or checking personal information.
  • Be smart with social media. Information posted to your social account may be used by cyber criminals. Use your privacy settings to stay safe.
  • Think before you disclose. Do not give personal information away online or via email unless you are absolutely certain of who you are giving it to and what they will do with it.  And never share confidential information this way.
  • Be conscious of sensitive data that you may have access to and your obligations to keep it secure. The University’s Privacy Management Plan and the Information Security Data Classification and Handling Manual explain the University’s data protection requirements.

Other important IT security information you should know