Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

OurIT: How Can We Protect Our Community? 

Protecting our assets against destructive attacks is increasingly important to Queen’s. Our networks are home to very sensitive data – personnel records, patient information and research data - that includes YOUR data. When an entire department chooses to adopt cyber security processes and protocols, it not only makes everyone in the entire department more secure but the entire university as well.  Cyber security is our shared responsibility!

Why Are We Targeted?

Think of the university like a shopping mall. The cyber thieves are on the outside trying to get in. They are checking all the doors - maybe they'll find the one door that someone left ajar while they slipped out for a smoke or forgot to lock the door when they left for the day.  If they find the unlocked door and they slip inside, they now have access to not just the store they slipped into, but now they potentially have access to the entire shopping centre and all the other stores. 

It is the same thing with the Queen's University's networks. If just one person is tricked into giving their NetID and password, then the cyber thieves are no longer on the outside.

Going back to the mall analogy, what if you worked in that mall and forgot something in your store when you left? What if you just popped in to retrieve that item and someone quietly followed behind you? Perhaps you didn't even realized they slipped in the door before it had a chance to close and lock again.

At Queen's University, you could be on the internet looking to update a piece of software that you purchased. You click the update button but the download doesn't seem to start. You look around and find another button and that one works! Download success! The problem is, the first one worked too - except it was a piece of drive-by software that was loaded to your computer - it slipped in the door when you weren't looking. Your computer now has a "bot"  on it - and you may never know it is there. But all the while it is collecting data and sending it off to its master. How many different systems do you sign into every day?  Did you check your email?  Did you log into MyQueen'sU?  Did you do any online banking or online shopping?  The bot has collected it all.


Security Tips

  1. Be careful about opening email attachments.
    If you receive an attachment you were not expecting and/or from someone you don’t know, resist the urge to open that attachment! It can pose a great risk not just to your computer but to departments and the entire university.  In 2017, new policies will be implemented regarding what kind of attachments will be allowed via email.
  2. Save your files securely on one of the Queen’s-supported file storage and file sharing services.
    Use OneDrive for Business or QShare to securely store and share information. 
  3. Ensure your network printers are secure.
    Most printers come with easy, out-of-the-box setup. Unfortunately, most of the default settings have little to no security which can allow others to access the printer. The intruder can access the documents you send to the printer or they can send documents to the printer. If you're unsure how to secure your printer, read how you can move your printer to the campus private network
  4. Encrypt desktops and laptops.
    Queen's University safeguards your information by ensuring sensitive data is encrypted. This is to prevent unwanted access to that data if the device is lost or stolen. University data must be protected. The IT Support Centre provides an Encryption Service for faculty and staff, or they can follow the step-by-step tutorials to do it themselves.  
  5. Dispose of your hardware properly.
    Are you disposing of an old computer, printer or mobile device?  The hard drive needs to be destroyed so its contents can't be restored. The same goes for cell phones, tablets, printers, fax machines and other devices that have memories. Make sure it is disposed of properly. Find more information about disposal on campus here

Test your knowledge!

Myth or Fact?

Electronic car engines, door locks, pace makers, and drug pumps are a potential cyber security risk.

The most damaging virus in the world to date was sent via email attachment.


Antivirus software programs will protect my devices from a ransomware attack.




Did you know ...

Last year Queen's implemented the new MyHR platform where staff and faculty and student-staff can receive their pay statements and T4s slips online. This service is secured with your NetID and password on campus and accessing it from off campus requires a VPN connection.

Last Updated: October 6, 2016