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Tips

Before you leave …

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

The December holiday is almost here and especially this year, we’re all looking forward to escaping for a week or two. But before you leave, there are a few things you can do now to ensure that your return is seamless. Here are a few tips: 

  1. Activate your Out of Office function on your sun.ac.za Outlook mailbox and indicate in the message when you will be available again in case someone needs to contact you. Also, indicate who will be responsible during your time away and add their email address to your Out of Office.
  2. Make sure that your relevant work-related data is accessible for usage by your colleagues while you are away. However, do NOT give your password to colleagues when as this poses a security risk.
  3. If your sun password might expire during your holiday, rather change it before you go. If it expires while you are away you will be locked out of your account and it will cause unnecessary stress to deactivate it in January. 
  4. If you receive a phishing email on your sun account over the holiday and clicked on links or typed in your username and password, your account may be compromised. Immediately change your password at www.sun.ac.za/password and log a service request on the ICT Partner Portal. Your device will then be checked and scanned after the holiday. Remember that you can also report spam directly to Microsoft by using the handy Report Message function in Outlook.
  5. Information Technology will also be closing, like the rest of the University, on 24 December and opening again on 4 January. If possible, please log your IT requests as soon as possible before you leave. If you have a critical problem, it might be difficult to assist you a day before you leave or on the last Friday since suppliers also close over the festive season.

How to make a screen snip

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and even in the IT environment this is true. How often have you tried to describe a problem you have with your device to an IT technician, struggling to explain it over the phone or in an email.

There is an easier way and it’s called a screen shot, screen grab or screen snip. Many of us use this regularly on our cell phones to share images with friends or family, but it can be particularly useful if you want to show an IT technician an error message or what you are seeing on your screen. If you log a request on our ICT Partner Portal adding a screen shot makes the world of difference. A technician can immediately see the error message and start troubleshooting your problem.

So, how do you make a screenshot? One of two ways:

  1. In Windows 10 you can press the Shift+Windows button+S and it will open the Snip & Sketch option for you.
  2. You can type Snip & Sketch in your search bar (bottom left next to the Windows icon)

For a full explanation of how this handy tool works, the crew over at ZDNet explains it step by step.

So next time you log a request for our technicians, why not try out the Snip & Sketch tool? After all, it’s better to show, not tell.

[Information provided by George Whitehead]

 

 

Why is cyber security important?

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

Cyber security is the skill and ability of protecting networks, devices, and data from unlawful access or criminal use and the practice of guaranteeing confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.

Communication, transportation, shopping, and medicine are just some of the things that rely on computers systems and the Internet now. Much of your personal information is stored either on your computer, smartphone, tablet or possibly on someone else’s system. Knowing how to protect the information that you have stored is of high importance not just for an individual but for an organisation and those in it.

Did you know that:

  • As of 2021, there is a ransomware attack every 11 seconds, up from 39 seconds in 20191,2
  • 43% of cyber-attacks target of small businesses, and they have grown 400 percent since the outbreak began

More tips and resources can be found here

The US government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has made a collection of tip sheets available for use. These downloadable PDF documents contain all the information you need to protect yourself from cyber security risks in a convenient, compact format. 

More tips and resources can be found here

[SOURCE:  Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, United States Government

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Creating strong passwords

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

Before we pointed out that most people underestimate the importance of having a secure password, and still make the mistake of using simple words and numbers as a password.

Keep in mind that your email and social network accounts contain very personal information about you. You must have a strong password to keep your personal life personal, and not become a victim of identity theft. 

  • Using email or your profile on Facebook, Whatsapp or Google, hackers can and do, extract a huge amount of personal data of your personal “online” life.
  • If you use the same password for multiple online accounts, you run the risk, if this password is hacked, of all your online accounts being compromised.
  • Using a personal name for an online account, the name of the city that you live in, the names of your children or your date of birth, give hackers vital clues for attempting to access your personal data.
  • For an average expert hacker, it is always easy to find passwords that are made up of words from the English vocabulary or other languages, using a basic technique called “brute force” or “dictionary” attacks.

What makes a password safe?

  1. A password at least 8 characters long.
  2. The password does not contain information that is easy to find online, such as the date of birth, the telephone number, your spouse’s name, the name of a pet, or a child’s name.
  3. The password does not contain words found in the dictionary.
  4. The password contains special characters like @ # $% ^ &, and numbers.
  5. The password uses a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters.

A trick that the experts use to create secure passwords:

Think of a phrase and use the first letters of the words in the phrase.

  • For example: “In South Africa, a barbecue is called a Braai!”
  • Take the first letters of each word and the password that is created is ISAabicaB!
  • This will be very difficult to guess, but easy to remember.
  • At this point, you can decide to make your the Google password is ISAabicaB!-G,  and Facebook ISAabicaB!-F and your university account  ISAabicaB!-US and so on.
  • There is already a capital letter and a special character (!), so you just need to add a number to finish off a good password like 9-ISAabicaB!-US (9 could be the month you created the password in – for example)

You will have already made your password a lot more difficult to hack, and it can be a lot of fun to create. 

How to recognise a phishing e-mail

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

We can’t warn you against every phishing e-mail– there’s a new variation every day. You are the only person who can protect yourself from phishing scams and identity theft. The only way to do this is to learn to recognise a harmful e-mail by paying attention and keeping an eye out for a few tell-tale signs.

phishme_how_to_spot_a_phishTypical characteristics

1. Well-known companies used as bait
These e-mails are sent out to thousands of different e-mail addresses and often the person sending them has no idea who you are. If you have no affiliation with the company the e-mail address is supposedly coming from, it’s fake. For example, if the e-mail is sent by ABSA, but you are a Standard Bank client. Also, see a list of types of companies generally used in phishing e-mails below.

2. Spelling and grammar
Improper spelling and grammar is a dead giveaway. Look for obvious errors. 

3. Lack of client information
Phishers use a generic greeting. For example, the e-mail greets you as “ABSA customer” or “Dear user”, etc. If the company was sending you information regarding your faulty account, they would mention your account details or name in the e-mail.  A company would go through the trouble to address a client by name and won’t ask you for your information. Banks have your information on their system.

4. Deadlines/Sense of urgency
Phishing e-mails demand an immediate response or stipulate a specific deadline, creating a sense of urgency and prompting you to respond before you’ve looked at the e-mail properly. For example,  demanding that you log in and change your account information within 24 hours or your account will be closed.

5. Malicious links
Although many phishing e-mails are getting better at hiding the true URL you are visiting, often these e-mails will show a URL that is unrelated to the company. Move your mouse over the link and look at the display address. Is this the website address of the company who seems to be sending the e-mail? If not, it’s clearly a phishing e-mail.

6. Attachments
Phishing e-mails occasionally include an attachment which contains malware. When opened, it will run and install a small programme on your PC, which hackers use to gain access to your PC and information. 

Typical phishing topics

• Account issues, such as accounts or passwords expiring, accounts being hacked, out-of-date accounts, or account information has to be changed.
• Credit cards expiring or being stolen, a duplicate credit card, credit card transactions, etc. 
• Confirming orders, requesting that you log in to confirm recent orders or transactions before a delivery can be made.
• Winning a prize or getting something for free. Both Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay’s have been used in fake campaigns to lure people into providing personal details.

Company names phishers generally use

• Any major bank. ABSA and Standard Bank are both popular choices in South Africa.
• Insurance companies, for example, Outsurance.
• Internet service providers
Apple or Microsoft claiming your account has been suspended.
• E-mail providers, e.g. Gmail or Yahoo
• SARS. Especially at this time of year. (We’ve had a few of these.)
DHL or any delivery company claiming they have a package for you.
• Your company’s medical aid, for example, Discovery
• Your company’s IT department
• Casinos and lotteries
• Online dating websites
• Popular websites such as Amazon, Facebook, MySpace, PayPal, eBay, Microsoft, Apple, Hotmail, YouTube, etc.

A few tips to keep you safe

Never follow links in an e-mail you’re uncertain of. Rather visit the page by typing the address of the company in your browser. For example,  instead of clicking on the “ABSA URL” in the e-mail, type http://www.absa.co.za in your web browser and log in at their official website.
Never send personal information by e-mail. If a company is asking for your personal account information or claiming your account is invalid, visit the website and log in to the account as you normally would. If everything seems in order and there aren’t any urgent notifications from your bank, you should be fine.
• If you are still not sure about the status of your account or are concerned about your personal information, contact the company directly, either through an e-mail address provided on their website, over the phone or visit your local branch.
• Delete the e-mail and don’t click on links or fill in any information.
• If you’ve already divulged your information, immediately change your password or PIN and contact the institution to inform them of the breach.
• To report spam or phishing e-mails send an e-mail to sysadm@sun.ac.za with the subject SPAM with the suspect e-mail attached. IT system administrators will then be able to block the e-mail to protect other users.

[SOURCE: www.computerhope.com]

 

 

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