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IT security

Everybody at Birkbeck - staff, students, visitors and all users of our systems - must work together to ensure the safety and security of IT systems and the data we are entrusted with. 

Find out how you can protect the data of our users

Protect your ITS user account

  • Never, ever share your username or password with anyone. 
  • Ensure your password is strong; as a minimum your password should be 10 characters in length and contain a mixture of letters (upper and lowercase) and numbers.
  • Only use your password to log in to services that you are sure are provided by Birkbeck. If you are in any doubt, check first by contacting us:

multi-factor authentication (MFA)

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) provides an additional layer of security on top of your username and password when you access College resources online. Once set up it is easy to use and provides increased protection from cyber-attacks.  See Usernames, passwords and MFA for more details. 

Beware of fraudulent emails (phishing)

Bulk emailing 

  • Emails sent to groups of recipients should originate from our corporate systems, or be sent to distribution lists. 
  • If you have to send emails from outside of a corporate system, and an appropriate distribution list does not exist, please follow this advice within Outlook: 
    • enter multiple email addresses in the BCC (blind carbon copy) field, as this will hide everybody's email address and avoid reply-all email chains 
    • send bulk emails from a verifiable College email account 
    • provide a named College contact, so recipients will know the email message is genuine 
    • choose a subject that clearly defines the purpose of the email 
    • take care in composing and checking the accuracy of the message content and recipient list 
    • provide an opt-out option for marketing emails, even after recipients have opted in. Student opt-outs are recorded on My Birkbeck 
    • do not send unsolicited marketing mailings. For those who have opted in, always acquire a fresh list sourced from corporate data (interests mailing lists), which will exclude those who have opted out of marketing communications 
    • avoid sending attachments in bulk email. If you must share a document, upload it to a Birkbeck-hosted web page and link to it 
    • avoid links to third-party websites.
  • If you use Campaign Monitor to send bulk emails, in order to protect the data of recipients, you must download email addresses from the relevant Birkbeck interest (mailing list) immediately before you send each email, and delete the list from Campaign Monitor immediately after. Do not use MailChimp.

Security tips for using public PCs (including library, teaching and workstation rooms)

  • Never share your log-in details with anyone.
  • Always log off when you are finished or have to leave the PC unattended.
  • Be wary of ‘helpful’ people you don’t know giving you advice about using the computer - never give them your log-in and password.
  • Avoid entering sensitive information onto a public computer and be aware who is watching you and the screen.
  • Do not try to install any programs or applications on public PCs.
  • Do not run programs and applications if you don’t know what they are or where they have come from. Don’t run word processor or spreadsheet macros if you don’t know what they are for, and don’t edit documents you have downloaded from the internet unless you are sure of their content.

Back-up advice

  • Data stored on your local device may be at risk of loss. Regularly backing up your data (such as your assignments and other work) will ensure you have more than one copy if something goes wrong.
  • We recommend storing your data on your Birkbeck Microsoft OneDrive (part of Microsoft 365) cloud storage which is automatically backed up regularly.
  • Do not rely on USB memory sticks as your only source of back-up. They can be easily lost or stolen.