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Working securely: stay cyber-safe over the Christmas period

Follow this key advice from Rachel Gower, Warwick's Data Protection Officer (DPO) and Director of Legal & Compliance Services, to help ensure we stay safe online, at work and at home during the festive period.

"We know that working from home and teaching online places additional responsibilities on many of us – this includes juggling multiple priorities and working in new ways. It can feel at times like we're handling more work and as a result, processing more data. However, we need to ask for your continued awareness and vigilance to keep your devices safe and data secure."

We have three key areas of focus for these security-awareness messages:
  • Physical security: keeping devices safe from loss or theft
  • Data security: taking great care when sharing information
  • Online security: being vigilant when we meet, share and shop online - especially over the holiday period.

Physical security

Keep property safe from theft: devices have been stolen from staff vehicles and homes

Locks and encryption: Always secure your devices – physically and digitally. Locked storage, password screens and encrypted drives reduce the risk of data being lost or stolen.

Mobile devices: Keep anything with professional or personal data on it secure at all times - things like laptops, tablets, phones. Enable authentication via passcodes and fingerprints.

Passwords: Use strong, unique passwords for different accounts and devices - and never share them. Read our advice on creating a strong password and check the National Cyber Security Centre website for more ‘stay safe’ information.

Data security

Keep your data, files and email safe: take care how you share information

    Back up your data: Office 365 (OneDrive, Sharepoint, Teams), your Warwick shared drive or H: Drive are all suitable places to back up your files. Remember also to keep the backups secure.

     Keep software and anti-virus protection up to date: Turn on automatic software updates to ensure you are running the latest versions. Regularly connect to the campus VPN to get security updates and sync your files. Ensure your firewall is enabled for added protection.

    Use our new email tools: To help check for correct staff and student names, distinguish between internal or external recipients and double-check individuals who may have the same or similar names.

    Online security

    Keep yourself safe online: be vigilant when meeting, shopping and sharing online

    Don’t be caught out by cyber criminals: Think before you click on links or attachments or install applications – even if they look like they're familiar or from someone you know – check they come from a trusted source. If in doubt, check with the Helpdesk.

    Be cautious about shopping deals and special offers: Figures from Action Fraud show that criminals conned 17,407 shoppers out of almost £13.5 million over the Christmas period last year (an increase of over 20% on the same period in 2018). This year, because of Lockdowns, we've all been shopping online even more frequently. Check out these top tips on how to shop online securely this festive season: #FraudFreeXmas

    Everyone is a potential target: Don’t think it will never happen to you. Everyone is at risk. Cyber attacks can be difficult to spot, so don't hesitate to ask for further guidance or support when something feels suspicious or unusual. And if something does go wrong – report it and get help fast from the ITS Helpdesk.

      Security & Information Management is Everyone's Responsibility

      Help and support

      If you think you detect any unusual online activity, please report it immediately.

       Self-Service Online - make requests and report incidents through our web-based tool ServiceNow.
      To report a data breach now, follow this ServiceNow link to complete the process securely.
      Call us on 024 765 73737. We're open 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
      Email us at
      Who needs to know this?

      This information concerns us all. If you use a Warwick staff card, a Warwick email address, access one of our staff or student record systems or share your Warwick work with colleagues within or beyond the University, you are involved in activities that must be kept secure.

      Data Protection Officer
      The University of Warwick
      University House
      Coventry CV4 8UW