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Wireless networking (or WiFi) is less secure than traditional wired networking. The security of your information is your responsibility. Here are some tips for staying safe while using WiFi.
If you’re on a Massey campus, and you see a wireless network called MUStaff, MuStudent or MUGuest, there is a strong possibility this is a legitimate network, particularly if you are able to use your Massey username and password to connect to this network.
Anyone can buy and set up a wireless network and call it ‘Free Wi-Fi’, then sit back and watch people connect to that network. Therefore, you don’t really know if a network such as ‘Starbucks’ is being provided by Starbucks or is coming from some hacker sitting in the car parked outside.
What about Wireless Networks with passwords?
Even when you think you're on a secured Wireless Network (such as MUStudent), be careful about what you access and share. A secured wireless network will require either a password, or login credentials (such as MUStaff), or a web page login (such as MUGuest). Even if you've connected to a secured network, you should be careful about what you access and share, as your connection can still be intercepted by others.
Most websites either start with HTTP or HTTPS. HTTPS is the encrypted version of HTTP, in other words, data sent via HTTPS has been scrambled into a 'code', so that if the data is intercepted by someone, they can only see the code. If you're going to enter your details online, or access private information, check that the connection is HTTPS rather than HTTP.
You can generally tell if you have a secure HTTPS connection in your web browser by the presence of a padlock in the browser, sometimes in the address bar, and sometimes in the status bar. The web address may also start with 'https' rather than 'http'.
Is a secure HTTPS connection always safe?
Yes, but be careful as hackers can add pictures of padlocks to their pages to fool you into thinking that you are on a legitimate or secure web site.
If you’re using a Massey laptop on a non-Massey network, it is recommended you make a VPN connection back to Massey. This will encrypt the communications between your laptop and Massey’s network. This encryption means your data is not vulnerable to being viewed if someone intercepts your connection. This VPN connection also allows you to work and use information services as if you were located on a Massey campus. If you do not already have a Massey VPN connection, you can apply for one via the link below.
This includes your antivirus software, your Windows/Apple/Android/Linux updates, your web browser, mobile apps, your version of Adobe Acrobat Reader or Flash Player, or your version of Java. Using outdated software increases the risk that an attacker may exploit vulnerabilities associated with these devices.
A software firewall will protect your computer from outside attempts to control or gain access to your computer, and some can even protect you against common types of attacks, such as viruses and malicious software (malware).
Windows and Apple Mac computers come with a built-in software firewall. A software firewall should already be running on Massey-owned computers. You might see a warning if your firewall is switched off. Please make sure you switch it on to protect your computer and the Massey network.
You are responsible for activities associated with your username. Never share your username and password with others, and always log out at the end of a session. It can be tempting to share you login credentials with others, so that they can gain quick access to the internet or to the Massey network. Even if they're the most trustworthy person in the world, you do not know if the connections and sites they are using are secure.
If you come across any strange activity that appears to related to your username and password— please advise the ITS Service Desk. A quick password reset will minimise any breach, and the ITS Service Desk can engage the security team to investigate for you.
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Last updated on Wednesday 20 November 2019
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