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University students and employees can be lucrative targets for cyber criminals. These criminals use a variety of different attacks in an attempt to steal your data. Here are some simple cybersecurity tips you can use to help protect yourself from these attacks.

Account Protection

Use complex passwords that are unique to each of your online accounts. This way if one of them is uncovered, it only affects one account. Use multifactor authentication when available.

Receive and Apply Software Updates

Apps and software constantly receive updates to address bugs and security vulnerabilities. Even brand new devices may not have the latest updates. You can often prevent your devices from being infected just by keeping your operating system, web browsers, apps, and other software fully updated.

Use Safe Browsing Habits

Most legitimate websites use secure “HTTPS” connections. Depending on your web browser, it may show a green bar or a lock near the website address to indicate your connection is secure. Try to avoid unfamiliar or untrusted websites. When you do go to a new website, make sure your device is using an updated antivirus program. An ad-blocking web browser extension can help protect against malicious or infected advertisements possibly present on the web site.

Malware Protection

Make sure all of your devices have an antivirus program installed. Ideally, your antivirus program should be set to automatically obtain new malware definitions and scan your device. Do not ignore notifications from your antivirus software.

Check Your Installed Apps

Many devices come with unnecessary apps and software you may not need or want. Removing apps you do not need can help reduce the risk of someone attacking your device. Also make sure the permissions associated with each app are appropriate.

Use Secured Wireless Networks

Publicly available wireless networks, such as the free Wi-Fi in coffee shops, bookstores, and hotels may not protect your Internet traffic. Accessing sensitive or protected information, such as bank accounts, using this type of wireless network is not recommended. If necessary, consider using your smartphone’s cellular signal, and if you have other devices, “tether” them to your phone instead of using open and unsecured Wi-Fi.

Physically Protect Your Devices

Stay with your devices and do not leave them unattended in a publicly accessible area, such as the library. Be sure to keep up with any devices you have while with a group or in a crowd. It is also a good idea to have a screen lock (such as a PIN or password) on your mobile devices.

Keep Backup Copies of Your Data

To make sure you have up-to-date backup copies of your important files, OSU offers One Drive cloud storage services with your university provided email account.  The One Drive service offers protection against unexpected data loss due to ransomware or device theft.  For additional convenience, you can designate specific folders which can automatically back up to the One Drive service.  You may also consider an offline backup solution such as a removeable external hard drive, depending on your situation.

Malicious Emails

Malicious emails are the most common cyber-attack. There a several different types of malicious emails, including: phishing messages, fake job scams, malicious attachments. Financial scams perpetrated over email are also becoming increasingly common.  If you receive an email that appears suspicious, please forward a copy to the OSU IT Help Desk at  We can check the email to help determine if it appears to be malicious.


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