Tips

There are many new scams and exploits being released every day. Being aware of good security practices can make you less vulnerable to these scams. 

Here are our top ten tips of being safe online:

  • Always use complex and unique passwords which are at least 8 characters.
  • Never share your passwords with anyone.
  • Change your password frequently here https://www.uoguelph.ca/ccs/apps/password/change/
  • Never use your U of G password for any other purpose.
  • Don't reuse the same password for multiple sites.
  • If you suspect that your account has been compromised, change your password immediately.

Top Tip: Make your password something easy to remember but difficult to guess, include upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and never tell anyone your password.


It only takes a few seconds for a thief to steal your device when you leave it unattended. It’s important to set a password on all of your devices, so in the event that one is stolen; the data is secure. On many mobile devices password protecting triggers encryption on the device, adding yet another layer of security, making personal information unreadable and unrecoverable by anyone who does not know the password.

On your computer a password adds a basic defense against unauthorized access, but if you are storing sensitive information a password is not enough, so encryption is recommended.

Top Tip: Never use the same password on multiple accounts because if one gets compromised, all of your accounts are vulnerable.


  • If receive an email with an attachment that you weren’t expecting, do not open it, as even a PDF file can hide malware inside.
  • Never click unknown links in emails, they may not lead where you think.
  • If in doubt about a link, hover over the link to see where it goes. You can also type the address you know to be correct into your browser.
  • The University will never email you to tell you that you require an account upgrade, verification or migration. As long as you are a student here, you will have an account whether you check your email or not.

Top Tip: If in doubt, hit the “Preview” button within Outlook to view the attachment contents without loading any potentially malicious parts.


Using uog-wifi-secure on campus protects your internet connection from potential eavesdroppers. When connected to open, public Wi-Fi networks, always assume that your data is not protected and may can be viewed by others on the network.

Top Tip: If you have more questions or need help connecting to uog-wifi-secure, visit the IT Help Desk on the library's first floor or email 58888help@uoguelph.ca


Use privacy settings on all your social media accounts, you never know who may end up with the information you put on them. This includes where you go to school, where you work, your home town, etc. Your personal information is often used by criminals in theft, phone scams, etc.

Top Tip: For a quick test, sign out of your social media account and Google yourself. The information you see is available to everyone, potential employers, professors and criminals.


Log out of your accounts when you are finished using them and lock your computer when unattended. If you don’t log out you may be allowing others access to your information through your own account.

Top Tip: Closing your browser does not always end your session. To be sure, always log out! If there is no obvious means to log out, close your browser and shut down or restart the computer.


Information Security offers a short online security course designed to educate users on security awareness and good practices in order to have a safe and secure online presence, to inform you on your role and responsibilities as a user of the University infrastructure, as well as help you to understand the purpose and logic behind the security policies at the university.

This course takes approximately 1 hour, and includes quizzes to test your knowledge at the end of each module. You can access the course by logging into Courselink - https://courselink.uoguelph.ca


Software updates are released frequently by operating system and application vendors. They contain bug fixes, product enhancements, and fixes for security vulnerabilities. These patches stop attackers from exploiting a bug in the software, so it is very important to allow updates to install when prompted, and to allow applications to auto-update. The farther behind your device is with updates, the more vulnerable it is and the greater the risk.


Using Anti-virus software will protect your device from getting infected by malware. Anti-virus software should be considered a last line of defense, and will not protect against poor computer security practices because they can only protect against known viruses. Mac computers should also have an Anti-virus installed, as they are also vulnerable to virus infection.

Top Tip: McAfee is offered free to University community members the CCS Software Distribution service. To read more or download the software, check here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/ccs/software/supported-products/mcafee-virusscan


  • Always download from the official app store for your device
  • Check reviews and feedback from others before installing new apps
  • Read and understand the permissions required before installing apps
  • Always be cautious when installing new software and fully read all install pages to make sure extra toolbars and programs are not installed
  • When looking for mobile applications do not slide load applications or jail break your device as this compromises your device security

Top Tip: Any site offering an expensive piece of software for free is likely not legitimate, many browsers will give you a warning when visiting a problem site – heed the warning!