Information Security

Advice for New Students

4 key principles for keeping you and your data safe during your time at the University of Edinburgh

1: Update your devices

  • Malicious attackers use  vulnerabilites in out of date software for the majority of their attacks.
  • You’ll often receive a prompt on your computer, smartphone or tablet to inform you that a software or app is ready to be updated.
  • Don’t ignore this message!
  • The few minutes it takes to download and install the updates could save you a significant amount of time and trouble in the long run.

Cyber Aware - Software Updates (External Link)


2: Use an anti-virus

  • Anti-virus software scans a computer for viruses. If a virus is found, it will notify you. It can then clean, delete, or quarantine any infected files.
  • There are a number of free anti-virus solutions out there and sites that have done the hard work for you by picking out the best. e.g. MoneySavingExpert, Techradar and Which?
  • Always remember to update your anti-virus (it will usually prompt you)

Use anti-virus


3: Know how to spot phishing attacks and fraud

  • Just because an email comes from a university address, that doesn't make it legitimate
  • Check directly with the company/team if an email is asking you to do something unusual
  • Never send your password over email and always check/report any email that does

Learning to avoid phishing


4: Encrypt your devices

  • Find out if your device supports full disk encryption (android and iOS have done by default for a few years now)
  • If it isn't active already, activate it. Contact your supplier for help with your make and operating system if you have to.
  • Don't share your passwords/encryption keys

Encrypting devices and documents


While far from exhaustive, with these 4 key principles, you'll be off to a good start. 


Next Steps?

If you are looking to learn more you can always start with the Information Security Webpages for advice and further reading. We also offer a course on LEARN that is mandatory for staff but also open to students.

 Information Security Essentials course


We have also worked with the Digital Skills team to roll out face to face sessions on key cybersecurity topics. If you are just starting to learn about cybersecurity and want to be safer online, the Internet Survival Guide is a great place to start.  

Digital Skills and Training