Are you a cyber security warrior or sleepwalker?

It’s already October and it would be easy to ask where has the year gone?

But we’re pretty excited because this month, the world is celebrating National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

We are hearing almost every day in the news about the latest breach or hack (not to mention the foreign prince who wants to marry me). So it’s time to brush up on some good practices around passwords, data protection and your online identity.

‘Too hard basket’ you say? Not now we’ve found the perfect place to start with some easy basics: Australia’s Stay Smart Online website.

Tips to protect yourself online
This isn’t just for your desktop, don’t forget you need to protect all your devices: laptop, mobile, tablet.

Passphrases

  • Use different, strong, hard-to-guess passphrases on all your devices.
  • Don’t arbitrarily mix letters, numbers and symbols to make a password. Instead, create passwords that are more memorable.
  • Don’t use your street address or numeric sequences such as 1234567.

Protect your stuff

  • Griffith students get free anti-virus software, so download or update it now!
  • Install adequate firewalls.
  • Set a password or pin; make sure they are different.
  • Install reputable anti theft/loss protection—your device’s retailer or service provider can provide recommendations.
  • Use your device’s automatic update feature to install new applications and operating system updates as soon as they are available.
  • When you get rid of a computer or device, make sure you have removed all your personal data and try to clean the hard drive.

Be cautious with emails

  • Be suspicious of emails from people you don’t know or that look unusual—it may be spam email with malicious software attached.
  • Don’t share your email address online unless you need to and consider setting up a separate email address just to use for online forms or shopping.
  • As much as possible, have separate email accounts for personal and business use.
  • Use a spam filter to catch dangerous messages before they get to your inbox.
  • Delete spam messages without opening them and never reply to them.
  • Do not open any attachments if the source of the message is unknown or suspicious—do not enable macros on documents from an untrustworthy sender.

Wifi

  • Protect your wireless connection with a strong password.
  • Make sure remote management on your modem or router is disabled.
  • If you are using public wifi, make sure your computer has its firewall enabled, your software is up-to-date and you have a good anti-virus program installed.
  • Don’t use public wifi for sending sensitive emails, accessing your online banking or using your credit card while connected (and make sure your apps with this information are closed).

You can also visit Griffith University’s Cybersecurity website for more info and tips.


Protect your computer against viruses

As a uni student, your computer possibly contains 1353 words of your essay due next week (eeek!) and three gazillion gigabytes worth of photos from your entire life (well, this semester anyway).

With great love comes great responsibility. You need to take care of your computer so it doesn’t catch a virus.

According to PC Mag: ‘The effect of the virus may be a simple prank that pops up a message on screen out of the blue, or it may destroy programs and data right away or on a certain date. For example, the famous Michelangelo virus contaminated the machine on Michelangelo’s birthday’ (PC Mag Encyclopedia).

The sad face emoji isn’t sad enough to express how crummy it would be to lose all the data on your computer.

So, what can you do to protect against these viruses? Well, most importantly, ensure you have anti-virus software installed on your computer!

As a Griffith student, you can download Symantec Endpoint Protection through our Software Download Service for free. Yes, it’s free! So there’s no excuse not to do it.

Just follow our instructions to access the Software Download Service, select the Symantec Endpoint Protection folder and your operating system, and run the executable file.

If you want further protection, you could also download Norton 360 or Norton Internet Security. While these incur a fee, Griffith Students get 50% off, and we reckon that’s an alright saving! You can find out more about Norton Student Savings here.

Once you’ve gotten your anti-virus software sorted, there are a few more things to you can to do protect against computer viruses, so check out our post on how to secure your virtual world, and keep yourself protected online.


Use WhatsApp? You better read this

Where would we be without modern technology?

Probably getting lost a lot more frequently (no Google Maps to save us), not nearly as connected socially, likely going outside more often, and we’d have a lower chance of developing arthritis in our hands from excessive texting.

Modern technology helps us stay connected and on top of things. But just as fast as technology is evolving, hackers and cyber security threats are evolving too.

Now, we don’t suggest you put on a tin-foil hat and revert to using an old Nokia block phone. But you do need to be mindful of information security threats.

WhatsApp is a useful app; it allows us to easily stay in contact with friends around the globe. You know what’s not so great though? When things go wrong and a phising scam steals your bank details and personal information.

A new scam sent by an unofficial ‘The WhatsApp Team’ claiming ‘your subscription will be ending soon’ is currently in circulation.

The fake message warns that in order to continue to use the service, you need to update your payment information. The email includes a link for victims to sign in to a customer portal and update their details.

Warning: it’s a trap! If you follow this link, your personal and financial details can be exploited by cyber criminals.

So, if you receive this message – ignore and delete!

And stay safe: online, in bed, on the roads, in general.

Find more information at the Stay Smart Online page.


Is your email address safe?

You shop online using PayPal with complete confidence, don’t click on funny looking attachments, and are pretty certain that no, that Nigerian prince does not want to marry you.

You may think, ‘yeah, cyber hacks happen, but I’m careful, so they won’t happen to me.’ But, we ask you, please: be vigilant like Batman. Make your cyber world Batman’s Gotham City.

Recently, a cybersecurity researcher discovered a ‘spambot’ (tool for sending spam), comprising of an open and accessible server in the Netherlands which contains 711 million credentials including email addresses, some with passwords, collected from various data breaches.

Obviously you want to be like Batman (who wouldn’t?), so of course, you should be vigilant and check that your email address isn’t on this list.

It’s easy too – just visit Have I been Pwned and type in your email to check.

We’re also quite aware that it’s the 21st century, and most people have more than one email (personal, uni, your old hotmail from high school with a username you’d like to forget). Again, be vigilant – check them all!

Griffith is being vigilant too. Our Cybersecurity team has investigated and no Griffith University system has been compromised in this attack. However, a number of Griffith University email addresses were found on the Spambot list.

What does this mean? Basically, your Griffith account should be safe, unless you are in the habit of using the same password for Griffith systems as you use for external sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, web forums etc, or are in the habit of reusing the same password or a small group of passwords in rotation over and over again.

If this is the case and you do use the same password at Griffith as you do for other non-Griffith systems, please change your Griffith password immediately.

For more information on how to stay safe online, check out our Cyber Security webpage.


Get Microsoft Office 365 for free!

Stop right there!

We know Microsoft Office is kinda an essential software package for your uni studies. But before you go paying to download and install Microsoft 365 on your personal device, did you know that as a Griffith University student you get access to Microsoft 365 for Education for free?

Enrolled Griffith students can download Office 365 for Education directly from Microsoft and install it on up to five devices. These include PCs, Macs and mobile devices including Android, iPad and Windows tablets.

Microsoft 365 for Education includes:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • OneNote
  • Unlimited OneDrive storage

To download, simply go to the Microsoft Office website, type in your Griffith email address, and click get started. Then follow the prompts to download onto your personal device.

Super enthusiastic about Microsoft Office? Once it’s installed, you can access free training to learn how to use the products or improve your existing skills.

There’s also a handy Student Resources centre where you can access an array of templates to make putting your document together easier. Want a schmick resume, poster or report template? #sorted. The Student Resources centre also has training tutorials and blogs with handy tips.


How EndNote can help with referencing

Overwhelmed by referencing?

Referencing is an essential skill to have as a uni student.

We know, it can be pedantic: where to italicise, where to put a comma (wait, was it a comma, or a full stop?!), whether to capatalise or not….

When you start out, we recommend you use our Referencing Tool. This will help you get the hang of referencing, and what your citation should look like.

But you may get to the stage where you’re writing extensive literature reviews or maybe even a research thesis. Where you can reference APA and AGPS Harvard off the top of your head (a skill I have mastered, and am a little too proud of). At this point manually referencing can become tedious and inefficient.

If you’re at this point and haven’t already heard of EndNote, you probably want to take a look at it.

EndNote is Griffith’s recommended bibliographic management software, and can be used to easily:

  • Collect references
  • Organise references and documents in a searchable library
  • Create instant reference lists and/or bibliographies  

It’s super handy if you have a large amount of research you need to organise. You are able to store all the citations in one place, and easily insert them straight into Word. And, as soon as you insert an in-text reference into word, the full reference will be added to the document’s Reference List section.

The best part is that it updates and syncs. If you decide to remove a section of text, which may have had an in text reference used nowhere else, this reference will automatically be removed from your Reference List too #timesaver.

As a Griffith staff member or student you can download EndNote for free from Griffith’s Software Download Service. Find out more about using EndNote here.


Catch up with Lecture Capture

You’re a student. You work hard, study hard, and enjoy a diet of mi goreng (and hopefully some more substantial food, too).

But sometimes life gets in the way. We get that occasionally you may get sick, get stuck in traffic (or stranded in a bus strike!), or just accidentally miss your 8am lecture.

With end of trimester fast approaching, we’re sure you want to catch up on any content you may have missed. Or simply revise before final exams.

Did you know you can watch Griffith University lectures online? Using Lecture Capture technology, lecturers make digital recordings of course material and deliver it to you via Learning@Griffith.

To access the recordings, simply log in to Learning@Griffith with your Griffith University username and password, and head on over to your course site.

For most recordings, you can choose whether to stream the lecture or download to your device. The streaming option allows you to view the recordings as a podcast (audio file) or vodcast (video file) online.

When you stream a recording you can search for text and bookmark important parts of each lecture; a super handy feature to have when it comes to exam revision time! You can even increase the speed of which you’re listening to the lecture, if you want to power through it.

The download option allows you to save a copy of the recording files (mp3 and m4v) to your device and play it without an Internet connection.

You can also listen to lecture recordings in a Learning Centre, Computer Lab or the Library. But be sure to use headphones so you don’t disturb those around you.

For more information about Lecture Capture, visit the Lecture Capture webpage. Or if you need IT support contact the IT Service Centre.