Computer Security

Anyone who uses a computer connected to the Internet is susceptible to threats such as computer viruses, trojans and malware.  Security measures are designed to protect you from these threats and ensure that information is not lost or misused in any way. 

IT Services operate a number of systems to keep the campus network and IT facilities secure.

Security Systems offered by IT Services

  • Campus firewall
  • Secure web proxy
  • Email spam filtering
  • Anti-virus software

Security Services offered by IT Services

  • Threat monitoring
  • Incident reporting and response
  • Help and advice on other security matters

What are the threats?

  • Viruses can attack from emails, websites, instant messaging, USB sticks and file sharing.
  • Spyware is unwanted software that can monitor your online activity and steal personal information.
  • Adware is code that tracks your personal information and web browsing habits.
  • Phishing emails look like a genuine email asking for your password or financial details.
  • Malicious web links direct you to a website which then infects your computer with a virus or spyware.
  • Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be used to import viruses, spyware or adware.
  • Identity theft occurs when passports, driving licences or other forms of identity are obtained in your name.

Staying Secure

IT Services have security measures in place to protect University owned IT equipment. All University provided equipment comes with anti-virus software installed and provides access to secured storage areas that are backed up nightly. The University also subscribes to a managed security service to block as many spam emails as possible, sets minimum password criteria and requires students to change passwords regularly.

Though IT Services seeks to provide a safe and secure environment there are still steps that you can take to protect yourself:

  • Be cautious about opening attached files and clicking on web links in emails. A message may not be from someone you know just because it appears to be from their address. If you think something looks suspicious do not open it. If you have any concerns relating to your University email account contact usersupport@surrey.ac.uk.
  • Be careful what you download. Spyware can be installed if you download software, toolbars or emotions from unofficial sites. Download with caution and only from trusted sources. Students at the University have access to a range of free Windows software which can be downloaded at https://surreysoftware.surrey.ac.uk.
  • Never save files on your C: Drive. Files saved locally on your C: Drive are not backed-up and will be lost in the event of a hardware failure or machine rebuild.  It is important to ensure your files are saved on your H: Drive as this is backed up nightly.
  • Use Strong Passwords. The key to password strength is length and complexity. An ideal password is at least eight characters long and has letters, punctuation, symbols, and numbers. It is important not to use the same password for everything - a stolen password on websites with very little security, could then be used in more secure environments, such as banking websites. If you think someone may have access to your password you can reset it by visiting: https://adpasswd.surrey.ac.uk/iisadmpwd/aexp2b.asp
  • Avoid spam and scams. Always question the legitimacy of emails and messages that ask for personal or payment details. Phishing attacks mimic communications from a business or organisation to persuade you to divulge personal information. IT Servcies will not contact you to verify your account. If you are in doubt do not open the email or the links within it. Connect to the site directly by typing the URL manually into the address bar of your web browser this will help avoid phishing-style incidents. If you have any concerns relating to your University email account contact usersupport@surrey.ac.uk.

Reporting Security Incidents

If you think a computer, IT service or user account has been compromised, please contact the IT Service Desk on +44(0)1483 68 9898 or email itservicedesk@surrey.ac.uk