Protecting you and your information is paramount to Student Finance Wales. You can find detailed information about online safety at www.slc.co.uk/students/online-safety. Another useful site to visit is www.getsafeonline.org, where you will get helpful advice and guidance about protecting your online safety.
We would like to tell you about:
Protecting your identity
We will never email asking for you to confirm your personal or financial information online. Be suspicious of any request that claims to be from us and asks you to confirm your details; forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it.
This kind of fraudulent email is called ‘phishing’, by letting us know you have received one we can work to help protect you and others who may be affected.
You should also be aware of suspicious text messages asking you to click a link or confirm information about yourself. The text messages we send are to give information only.
Protecting your computer
Viruses, spyware and malware
Any computer connected to the internet may be vulnerable to viruses, malware or spyware.
Viruses come in many forms; attached to emails, contained in innocent looking programs or spread by websites. Viruses try to either damage your computer by removing important files or altering data, or to collect information about you and send it on to an unauthorised third party. Viruses will try to spread themselves by attempting to send themselves to your email contacts or other users of file-sharing sites.
A good anti-virus scanner will check incoming emails and files you open.
New viruses are discovered daily by anti-virus makers so it’s important that you update the ‘definition files’ (the list of viruses the scanner knows about) every 2 or 3 days.
A firewall is an essential barrier between your computer and the internet, preventing anyone connecting to your computer without your permission.
Most current computer operating systems, such as Mac OS X, Windows 7 and 8, have inbuilt firewalls. There are firewall products that can be downloaded from the internet.
Make sure that your computer’s firewall is active.
Regularly check that your computer’s operating system and the running software on it is up-to-date. Most operating systems have an update facility which will automatically update their software on your computer.
For other software packages or programs you use, visit the manufacturer’s website for available updates.
The wireless router which is used to connect your computer to the internet is the most common device that can be targeted by hackers to steal personal information from your computer. We don’t advise using Wi-Fi hot spots to access your account. If you use a Wi-Fi network at home, make sure that it is secure.
The nature of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can create security risks. It is important to remain cautious when using them. Use the site's privacy settings to limit who can see your personal information and posts. And always create strong passwords for your accounts; update them regularly.