Information security is not a trend, it’s what we need!

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Hooded computer hacker stealing information with laptop.
October is globally recognized as Cyber security awareness month, and we are going to enjoy something together: to ruin a cyber criminal’s day!

(2-minute read)

You do not need to be an IT professional to be cautious about malicious emails and messages that are sent and received every day. It is highly likely that all of us have received emails and text messages claiming you won a prize, or urging you to click on a link immediately to avoid legal and financial consequences. Those are in fact phishing emails attempting to scam us.  

So what can you do to be better prepared to avoid online attacks? Here are our top 5 recommendations to ensure your safety online: 

  • Install an antivirus immediately if you do not have one to protect your computer against malicious programs. You can download Sophos antivirus for free as a uOttawa staff member or student.   

  • Keep all your software up to date, especially your OS and antivirus. You can turn on the automatic update feature.   

  • Change your password and choose a more complex one containing capital and small letters, numbers, special characters, and preferably choose a passphrase instead of a password. You can also learn on how to use secure tools for stronger passwords.  

  • Make sure your MFA feature is enabled while logging into your uOttawa online services. Check out our instructions on how to enable MFA for your uOttawa account. Your personal information and account’s security will significantly increase by using MFA. Enable it now if you haven’t already.   

  • Get to know the different types of phishing and be on the lookout for telltale signs. 

Colorful background with at the foreground a cyber criminal wearing a dark hoodie and a crying face emoji over their face, and the title “Fight phishing: Ruin a cyber criminal’s day”.

Rushing somebody to do something in a limited time is a strong sign of a phishing attack. This should raise a red flag for you to evaluate the message. You may contact the sender directly by a different communication channel for confirmation if ever you’re unsure if the message is authentic. 

You can go the extra mile by reporting malicious emails received in your uOttawa email by using the “Report Message” button in Microsoft Outlook. Please keep it in mind that you should never click on links in emails and messages you do not fully trust. 

To keep our data safe and secure, and to protect our personal information, we need to be very cautious when it comes to clicking on links in emails. 

You can find further information on how to detect and prevent a phishing attack, and useful tips on the Government of Canada's website