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CamGuides: Managing your Digital Presence

Staying safe online: security and privacy

lots of padlocks chained to a wire fenceThere are several ways in which you can ensure that your use of the internet and social media is safe, secure and private. More resources in adopting these practices are provided at the end of this page.

Passwords

Choosing strong and unique passwords for all of the sites you use is a vital practice but this can be time-consuming (as well as difficult to remember). A simple way around this is to use a password manager: this stores all of your (unique, very complex) passwords safely so that you don't have to remember them; instead, you just have to remember the password or passcode for the password manager. Password managers include 1Password (small monthly fee) and LastPass (free). Wherever possible you should also turn on two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security.

Browsers and search engines

While most browsers offer some degree of security, some are better than others. Tor Browser, for example, works just like a normal browser but protects your anonymity online. If you're a Chrome or Firefox user, then there are extensions you can get to increase security, such as HTTPS Everywhere, which adds a basic level of encryption to your online activity, and Privacy Badger, which blocks spying adds. 

Using DuckDuckGo as your search engine will prevent your search history being stored anywhere.

Scams and phishing

Phishing is where a scammer attempts to encourage you to disclose personal details about yourself which can then be used in other scams. New students to the university are, unfortunately, preyed on particularly by scammers as you're probably quite accustomed to giving away details about yourself and less aware of the 'authoritative' sources of emails. Bear in mind that if communication is official then the sender's email address will almost certainly end in cam.ac.uk. 

More information on spotting a phishing attack and how to report them is available from the University Information Services.

More advice and resources
Various pages on the Surveillance Self-Defense site: e.g. Communicating with Others (2014), How to Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2015).
Resources from the Library Freedom Project

Image credits

CC0 by Warren Sammut via Unsplash