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Change your password online

Thursday, February 25th, 2021

In the past, the IT Service Desk was your first stop when you forgot your password (we know, it happens to us too!) or had to change your password. Unfortunately, due to various security risks, as well as the very strict new data protection acts, the Service Desk is no longer allowed to change or reset your password for you. (You can read more about the university’s own Data Privacy Regulation here)

We would like to encourage staff and students to use the Password Selfhelp website in future. We realise that this might be inconvenient, but for your and our own protection, we will have to follow this procedure. 

 The Password Selfhelp website ( offers two options: 

  1. Change Password for users who know what their password is and want to change it. 
  2. Reset Password for users who forgot their password. 

To use the online Password Selfhelp, your cellphone number or an alternative email address has to be on the HR records, otherwise, you will not be able to change your password. You can update this information by logging onto SUN-e-HR though the staff portal, or contacting your department’s HR contact person. 

Select the My Profile link – Personal Information

Log on to SUN-e-HR.

Select Basic Details – Update, Other, Personal Email Address 


Select  Phone Numbers – Update

During the password change process a PIN code, consisting of 8 numbers, will be SMSed or emailed to the user (depending on which option he/she selected) Please use this PIN to change your password on the self help website. As soon as the password has been changed, the user will be notified by means of SMS or email.

If you have not requested a password change, please notify the IT Service Desk immediately at 808 4367.


If you are working from home you will also need to follow these instructions after you’ve changed your password to ensure that it sync properly across devices and accounts.

Getting ready for the Protection of Personal Information Act

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

The Protection of Personal Information Act (4 of 2013) (POPIA) goes into full effect on 1 July 2021.  A brief summary of the POPIA Act is available here.

To support the University community’s readiness for POPIA, the Division for Information Governance has launched a series of guides and tools at, including our institutional privacy regulations, an online privacy impact self-assessment, and channels for reporting incidents or breaches of personal information.

The Division for Information Governance also offers awareness sessions, facilitated privacy impact assessments, and internal advisory and consulting services by request. For more details, contact

“PLEASE SUPPORT STIAS…” email causes a mail storm

Friday, February 19th, 2021

There is no reason to be worried or concerned about a mail that is being circulated with the subject line starting with “PLEASE SUPPORT STIAS…”

Although it is definitely spam (defined as unsolicited commercial e-mail) it does not appear have any dangerous content and was sent out by a university user to over 300 addresses one of which was the general IT Service Desk email address. Because it was sent to the address which automatically logs service requests the account automatically emailed all the recipients with “Cancellation” e-mails, who then replied, etc. This was no fault on the side of the IT Service desk as it is an automatic process of the Jira logging software that IT uses to track its calls.

This is known as a mail storm in IT jargon when somebody replies to a single e-mail sent to a mailing list and inadvertently replies with a personal message to the entire mailing list leading to a snowball effect or a mail storm. It is like a dog chasing its own tail!


If you want to take it further and set up a mail filter to delete all mails with that particular Subject, then you can do so. However do not blacklist the sender or report it to the address or it will just perpetuate the spam, and you could block legitimate e-mails from IT or the original sender.

Stay safe out there and thank you to everyone who flagged this email. It is encouraging when we have such observant and enthusiastic users.



Warning: Sextortion scam

Monday, February 1st, 2021
There is a “sextortion” email making the rounds at the moment and with many personnel and students still working andstudying from home, many are concerned about the risks.
“The device has been successfully hacked” is a new ‘sextortion’ email scam for 2021. This email scam, like most sextortion scams, relies on “social engineering”, a process through which the scammers induce shame, panic or guilt. The scammers (the authors of the email) claim that they obtained material compromising the user (because of a computer hack, email account hack, router hack, etc) and threaten to publish it if the ransom is not paid. None these claims are true in any way; they are just deception.
The “The device has been successfully hacked” email message says that someone successfully hacked the recipient’s device and monitored it for a long time. The hacker claims that this was made possible by a virus installed on the device when the user visited the adult site. Using this virus, the hacker was able to record a video that compromises the user, and gained access to the user’s personal contacts, instant messengers, and social networks. If the recipient pays $1300 in Bitcoin, the hacker promises to delete all the data. Next, the scam email contains the bitcoin address to which the ransom should be transferred. This email is just a sextortion scam, and all the statements are fake. 
What to do when you receive the “The device has been successfully hacked” SCAM:

  • Do not panic.
  • Do not pay a ransom.
  • If there’s a link in the scam email, do not click it, otherwise you might unwittingly install malware or ransomware on your computer.
The mail will come from several e-mail addresses, which might very from user to user. Scammers use thousands of “throw-away” e-mail addresses to send out these scams.
If you do get such an e-mail use one of the two methods below to report it to IT Cyber Security as soon as possible. This way IT can filter and block the senders

By reporting it on the ICT Partner Portal.​​

Go to 

Fill in your information and add the email as an attachment. Your request will automatically be logged on the system.​​

If you have accidentally responded to the phisher and already provided them with your personal details, it is vitally important that you immediately go to the USERADM page (either or and change your password immediately.)

Make sure the new password is completely different and is a strong password that will not be easily guessed, as well as changing the passwords on your social media and private e-mail accounts, especially if you use the same passwords on these accounts. Contact the IT HelpDesk if you are still unsure.


Data Privacy day

Saturday, January 30th, 2021

In South Africa, we’re a bit late to the Data Privacy Day party. In Europe, it’s been around since 2007, while The United States joined in 2009. 

Data Privacy Day (known in Europe as Data Protection Day) is an international holiday that occurs every 28 January. The purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices. 

Even though data Privacy Day has been around for more than ten years, awareness around the protection of data is becoming a critical issue. The reason is twofold. Firstly, data breach incidents across the world are occurring on a more regular basis and it’s happening to large companies who should have strict measures in place to protect their users’ data. Which brings us to the second reason – the implementation of GDPR and POPI. Before both these data laws, there was little to enforce companies to protect users’ data. The GDPR and POPI acts changed this. Now companies are held accountable and can be heavily fined for compromising their clients’ personal information.

Why is data so important, though? According to Mark Barrenechea, CEO at OpenText, “[e]very day we are building, brick by brick and bit by bit, a digital copy of ourselves, whether we are aware of it or not.” A bigger digital footprint makes it easier to find information about you, whether it’s personal information such as usernames and passwords, your physical location or your interests or hobbies. Algorithms can track your actions and anticipate your behaviour. Every little piece of information adds up to a bigger picture and can be used to your disadvantage. 

Sharing data is easy, which makes it critical that you take responsibility for protecting your own information. We can no longer depend on companies or social networks to keep our digital identities safe. This we’ve clearly seen over the past few year with multiple data breaches – many including large companies such as Facebook and Google. 

Data Privacy is just one day in the year to make data owners (that’s anyone using a digital platform!) aware of the importance of protecting data. However, we should be aware of the risks every day. How can you protect your data?  www.digitalguardian has an extensive guide, but here are 10 basic tips:

  1. Use encrypted networks when you’re accessing important information. Even though open and free Wi-Fi is tempting, it comes at a high risk. If you’re browsing websites not using https, know that whatever you do can be seen by someone else.
  2. Choose strong passwords. Don’t know how? Here are some tips. The general trend is using two-factor authentication. Better even, use a password manager as it’s the most secure solution.
  3. Protect your passwords. Don’t write them down. Don’t share them. And most importantly, don’t use the same password for all your social networks or websites. 
  4. Update your software when it prompts you to. Don’t ignore it because you don’t have time – it might be an important security update which will prevent that you are at risk.
  5. Update your antivirus software regularly. New versions of viruses, malware, etc. are released regularly to explore weaknesses. If you don’t update, you’ll be an easy target. Also, consider an anti-virus for your mobile devices – they are even more vulnerable.
  6. Check and configure privacy settings on your phone. Consider carefully which apps you give access to use certain services on your phone, for example the camera function.
  7. Lock your smartphone and tablet devices when you are not using them. Mobile devices are used to access social media, banking services and various other apps containing personal information.
  8. Enable remote location and device-wiping. If your mobile device is stolen, no-one will be able to access your information.
  9. Delete your data from old devices, for example, smartphones, before you sell, discard or pass them onto someone else. 
  10. Back up your data on a daily basis. If your device is infected with malware or stolen, you’ll still have your data. 

[SOURCES: https://www.forbes.com]


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