Cyber Security Update - staying secure online over the holidays

With the festive period just around the corner, here are some top tips to help you stay secure if you need to access University online services from home.

Working remotely

When working remotely it is important to make sure you are especially conscious of cyber security risks. There are some simple steps you must take to ensure you are working safely.


The University of Sheffield Virtual Private Network (VPN) is used to establish a secure connection from your device off campus to services at the University. Some of our services can only be accessed via VPN when you are working remotely, however we recommend using it when doing any work off campus. This is particularly important if you are using a public or unsecured wifi, such as in a cafe or on a train. Learn more about setting up VPN here:

Use a secure account

If you have a new device or are sharing a computer, tablet or mobile with family or friends it is essential that you set up and log in via your own secure account. This means an account with a unique password that is not shared with anyone. Wherever possible you should also have a separate computer account for personal and work purposes.

Encrypt your device

By encrypting your laptop or device, you are making the information inaccessible to anyone without the correct credentials. This is particularly important if you are working on the move and could be at danger of theft or loss of your device. Information and advice about encryptions can be found here.

Update your software

When you are working on a personal device you must make sure all your operating system and all software (including antivirus) is up to date. Failing to do this can make you vulnerable to viruses and other cyber attacks.

Save data securely

If you need to save work always aim to do so using the University filestore or University account Google drive. Avoid saving work outside of University approved services or on unencrypted USB sticks.

Current cyber security threats

The Christmas period often brings with it a new range of cyber scams, such as a recent rise in the ‘iTunes gift card scam’. Find out more about this and other current cyber security threats.

Find out more

Security is everybody’s responsibility

Keeping you up to date with the latest cyber security news is just one part of the work CiCS and the University are doing to maintain and improve cyber security across the institution.

The University's Assured Computing service has recently received Government-backed security accreditation and is now Cyber Essentials Plus certified. We recommend that all staff consider using this service as it will help to protect you and your work. You can find more about the Assured Computing service and how to use it here.

Over the coming months, we will bring you more information on further work taking place and what changes you can expect, including new policies and processes, so that you can help us keep the University as safe as possible.

Find out more on the CiCS Information Security pages