Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month! Each week ITS will be releasing important information to keep our community safe online. For more information about this initiative, visit the ITS Cyber Security Awareness page.


Be social media smart!

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat. Social media has changed the way we communicate with family, friends and coworkers. These platforms now play a significant role in our lives, making communication quick and easy. But as with all online adventures, these sites and apps have risks associated with using them. By being aware of the threats, you can better protect yourself from unwanted breaches of your privacy. Be sure to use social media in a smart and safe manner.

The ITS website has a Social Media Security Best Practices page with helpful tips for navigating the internet’s social media landscape.

Protect your privacy

Identity thieves love to prowl social media for easy targets. Gathering valuable personal information is easy for them if you post things like your birthday and email address(es). If much of the valuable information you use to answer challenge questions (such as your mother’s maiden name or the name of your first pet) can be found online, hackers can use this to guess or change your password and gain access to your account. Once hackers have this kind of access, they can use it to hack other accounts or use your identity in other forums. Even if they can’t get into your account, hackers can also steal your identity by creating a new account by using your photo and other relevant information. Be sure to create a strong password that is difficult to crack.

Prevent hackers from compromising your system

Once in your accounts, hackers can use this access point to plant viruses and/or malware on your device. Another source that hackers like to use are shortened URLs on platforms like Twitter or Reddit. Since these URLs are so short and difficult to identify, they often mask the fact that the user will be directed to a malicious site, where your system or device may be compromised. Never give out your user IDs or passwords.

Choose your friends wisely

While Facebook is a great way to keep up with what your friends are doing, it is also a wonderful avenue for scammers. Be sure to accept only requests from people you actually know. Remember, with social media, you are posting personal information publicly. The more you post, the more information is being provided and consequently, the more vulnerable you become. Not only can companies track your “likes” and posts, but less then trustworthy sources may also be on the lookout for posts such as your vacation status – an opportune time for watchers to visit your home! Limit the amount of information you post online or wait until you return from vacation to post all those great museums or sunny beaches.

Search for yourself

Searching for your own name on a search engine like Google to see what your social media profiles look like can help you to understand where you show up and what information is available to strangers. This will also help you to see where you may need to adjust your profile, settings and online posting habits. If you happen to see your name somewhere you never visit, it could be a red flag that someone is using your identity.

Sharing is caring, when done appropriately

All members of the Queen's community have a responsibility to preserve the integrity and reliability of the University's IT infrastructure, and the confidentiality of valuable or sensitive information. Be sure that you are following the University Secretariat and Legal Counsel office’s Electronic Information Security Policy Framework when using or sharing university documents on social media.