Oxford secure
Oxford secure

Staying safe online at Oxford

Whether you are new to Oxford or returning this year, we urge all students to take some time to check that you are doing the right things to keep yourself, your devices and your money safe. Here are four top tips to help. 

1. Keep yourself and your devices safe and secure

Computer security is taken very seriously at Oxford University. Always create strong passwords and use multi-factor authentication when available for all your accounts.

In particular, make sure your Oxford Single Sign-On (SSO) account is kept as secure as possible, as this is just the kind of account that hackers love, with access to multiple services within Oxford. Bear in mind that you may not think you have access to anything valuable, but once a hacker has access to even one SSO account, they have access to numerous Oxford systems and can cause extensive damage.

Be very careful about doing anything confidential on public Wi-Fi such as online banking. Criminals have been known to impersonate the WiFi signals and capture your information (such as your log in details).

We also recommend you protect your laptop or computer with anti-virus software. Members of the University can install the Sophos Endpoint Detection and Response anti-virus software for free. It’s available for Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS and Linux. Follow the instructions on the InfoSec website to register for this free software, install it on your laptop and get it setup so it can protect you from malicious activity.

2. Think about your behaviour online

Social networking is a great way to keep in contact, especially if you’re away from home. However, think carefully about what you say and share about yourself online. Criminals seek out information on social networking sites to target individuals and properties, so take some basic precautions by reviewing your privacy settings. Be careful how much you reveal about where you are and what you’re doing online. Never share private or confidential information or material online.

Check social media regularly for what others have posted about you or tagged you in. Prospective employers may view your social media profiles. Remember, nothing is entirely private or short-lived online.

3. Don’t get caught out by scams

Unfortunately, there are a lot of criminal scams aimed at students – fraudsters know to take advantage of new students at the start of term and particularly if English is not your first language.

Be cautious when clicking on links in emails or text messages and remember:

  • HMRC (the UK Government HM Revenue & Customs) will never email you out of the blue about a tax rebate or similar
  • The SLC (Student Loan Company) will never ask you to provide your personal or financial information via email or text message
  • Oxford University IT, whether IT Services or your college IT, will never ask for your password
  • If your bank contacts you:
    • They will conduct identity verification to confirm they are speaking to the right person
    • They are very unlikely to ask for all of your account numbers, sort codes or security codes
    • They will never ask you to urgently transfer money into another account due to some suspicious incident

4. Look out for the new cyber security training for students

We are rolling out new cyber security training for students this term, so keep an eye out for your invitation. The training, along with the advice above, will help keep you safe and allow us all to safeguard Oxford’s uniqueness.

We need everyone at Oxford – staff and students – to play their part to keep us and our data safe.

Find out more about Information Security for students