Information Security - Working safely with data and systems

Information Security - Working safely with data and systems

Protect your data and data of others by working safely. Find some practical tips below.

Choose a strong password for your WUR account

  • Use at least 8 characters, preferably more;
  • Choose upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and characters;
  • Use your password only for your WUR-account;
  • Never reuse a previously used password. Also, never use the same password with a small change (e.g., a new final digit). This is easy to crack;
  • Never share your password.

WUR works with 2-factor authentication WUR Passcode to increase online security and keep cyber criminals out. You use this to log in to WUR applications. The authentication is done via your mobile phone.

Save and share your files securely

  • Use your WUR email address for study-related communication. This email address is more secure than personal Gmail, Hotmail, etc.
  • Securely share files through services offered by WUR, such as OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams.
  • Do not store confidential information in private cloud services such as Dropbox. Use WUR resources such as OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams for this purpose. This prevents information leaks.
  • Are you doing research for your studies? You can find more information about handling respondent data safely and keeping research secure on the WDCC page.
  • Do you want to know if a system or service in which you process data meets the security requirements of WUR? Use the ApprovedApps Tool to find out.

Only use safe software and apps

  1. Use the WUR Appstore for study-related software and apps for all your devices;
  2. Always use an official appstore to download apps on your phone. Pay close attention to what personal or device data an app uses;
  3. You can safely download software for your computer via Surfspot. This is often cheaper and sometimes even for free.

Secure your laptop

Make sure your computer has good, up-to-date hardware, software and security. This will also make it more difficult to gain access in the event of theft or loss. 

WUR uses Windows as standard. If you still want to use a MacBook, we recommend purchasing Parallels Desktop (at a discount) via This will allow you to use Windows on your MacBook.  

Practical information:

  • As a WUR student, you can download and install Windows10 education and Office365 for free via SurfSpot. In Windows10 education, you will also find a virus scanner and encryption software (BitLocker). With encryption, you ensure that your hard disk cannot be read by cybercriminals.
  • Implement updates as soon as possible. This is how you check for updates: Start button -> Settings -> Update and security -> Windows Update-> click on Check for updates.
  • Windows suggests recommended actions. Find them here: Start button -> Settings -> Updates and security -> Windows Security.
  • Only download software from official websites. Do not use illegal software.

Access to your laptop:

  • Secure your computer with a safe password. Especially if you use it for your education.
  • Wherever you are studying, lock your laptop when you leave it. An easy way is to use the shortcut key combination: ⊞ Windows + L. Press both keys at the same time. There are other instructions for a MacBook. Also set the laptop to lock automatically.
  • Make sure your laptop is (encrypted). Windows10 education has a safe option. For a MacBook, use FileVault.

Secure your smartphone

Secure your smartphone with facial recognition, fingerprint or a code. If you have secured your device, you can synchronize it with WUR mail, WUR calendar and WUR contact list. Instructions can be found in the manual of your device.

Have you lost or a phone with WUR data on it? Or has it been stolen? Please report it.

Handle external data storage safely

You can safely share files via services offered by WUR, such as OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams. It is preferable not to use external data storage such as a USB stick or an external hard disk.  Is there no other way? Then please make sure this storage is encrypted and protected with a strong password. Use Bitlocker, for example. This is available from Windows10 education. 

Have you found or received a USB stick or hard disk? Do not connect it to your device. Hand it in at the reception of your (education) building.

Use safe internet and safe WiFi devices

  • Use the WUR internet connection on WUR campus;
  • Do not use an unsecured WiFi connection at public locations. Your data are not secure via an unsecured connection;
  • An internet connection at home can be unsafe if it is not installed or maintained properly. Or if someone can easily guess the password.
  • Change the default passwords of smart devices. Otherwise, someone may have access to your camera.

Protect yourself against phishing

Through a phishing email, someone may attempt to extract your password. For example via an e-mail with a link or attachment. Phishing tricks are getting increasingly smarter. When in doubt: do not open or click. Whether it's an e-mail, app or text: never give your login details.

These questions may help to recognize phishing:

  • Were you expecting the message?
  • Is the message directed at you personally, or is it generic?
  • Do you know the sender and is the email address compatible with the sender?
  • If you are in doubt: double check by contacting the sender.

How to handle e-mails safely:

  • Do not just click on any links. Check the links in the email by hovering over them, if needed. If you are using a smartphone, keep your finger on the link until a pop-up appears showing the URL.
  • Do not download images or attachments.
  • Do not respond to a phishing email.

Report unsafe situations or concerns to the Servicedesk IT

Rather too early than too late. When in doubt: get in touch. Some examples of situations to report:

  • E-mails or messages via messenger apps that you don't trust;
  • Your device responds differently. It is suddenly slow or you can no longer reach certain folders;
  • Information that is lying around. For example, papers in a printer, a list of names in a deserted lecture hall;
  • Suspicious persons/behaviour or persons in places where they should not be.