Protecting your data online: what you need to know

Have you ever fallen trap to a particularly convincing online scam? I’m not talking about those emails that offer a cut of four million dollars from a mysterious (and now conveniently deceased) relative if you just pay a few thousand for the bank fees. I mean emails that come from something that looks so real you don’t even give it a second thought.

Picture this: you open up an email thinking it’s from your bank, mum, mate, or even your uni tutor and it tells you to open a link. Thinking all is normal you open the link and bam – you’ve got a nasty virus worming its way through your computer. This is called phishing, and it happens way more than you’d think. Data breaches can come in many forms, and according to the 2019 State of Cyber Security Annual Report, 90% of data breaches in Australia start at emails.

Stressing about keeping your data safe? Well, fear not. The University is taking measures to protect all students and staff with the implementation of a new technology, Mimecast.

What is Mimecast?

Mimecast is email security technology that works to keep our data safe by scanning inbound and outbound emails for spam, phishing attempts, and any other types of suspicious content. The University is rolling out this technology on all student emails later this month.

What do you need to know?

Most of what Mimecast does happens in the background, so you won’t actually see much change. However, there are a couple of things to note with this change:

You’ll see a different hyperlink than the one you clicked on.

Whenever you click on a link from an email instead of the original link opening, you will see a Mimecast link instead. It will look like this:…
This is because Mimecast is testing the link for spam and phishing, and if they determine the link is unsafe it will automatically block the website for you.

Worried the link isn’t spam and want to access it anyway? No worries! Just contact the IT Service Desk for help via ServiceUON.

Your attachments will still be scanned for threats.

Like before, the new security system will still scan your attachments for data threats. Keeping those essays safe – yay!

How can I be more safe with my online data?

Want more info about safeguarding your data? We’ve got you sorted. You can learn more about avoiding spam and phishing here. Or, if you’re already having an issue with spam, you can find info about how to deal with that here.

The best tips and tricks however are always:

  • Make sure your firewall is on and your anti-virus is up to date!
  • ALWAYS delete suspicious emails and links. Opening or viewing the links in suspicious emails can put your computer at risk
  • Don’t open attachments you aren’t expecting (especially .zip files) and never run .exe files
  • If you receive a suspicious email from someone you know, send them a separate email to verify the previous email
  • If you don’t recognise the sender and it seems suspicious at all, don’t click the email

More info on spam and phishing

Phishing emails can come from a <noreply> email, so always check the sender and receiver details and be alert. If you’re unsure whether an email is spam or a phishing attempt, there are three simple ways to recognise them:

  1. If you are asked to click on a link or open an attachment in order to see more information
  2. They ask for sensitive data (e.g. bank details, personal contact info)
  3. Messages that require immediate action (e.g. emails that ask you to do a task urgently or ASAP)

If an email has one or all of these, they are likely spam! Delete the email and don’t click the links.

If you have any questions about your emails, or the new system, be sure to contact the IT Service Desk!

Feature image via Unsplash

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