The ever-present Cyber Threat

The ever-present Cyber Threat

Cyber Scotland Week is next week. Our IT Security Team will be out and about to help raise awareness of cyber threats and address your concerns. The threat of cyber-attacks against educational institutions is very real. Find out what we're doing about it, and what you can do to help.

Next week is Cyber Scotland Week – a festival of events that aims to raise awareness of good cyber resilience practice.

On the back of this government initiative, we wanted to remind you that the threat of cyber-attacks against educational institutions is very real and ever present.

In recent months, major cyber-attacks have caused severe disruption and significant financial loss to institutions in The Netherlands, Germany, and here in Scotland. The attack vectors included ransomware and password spraying. Both attack styles can be extremely damaging and have the potential to devastate business operations long term

What we’re doing about it

Behind the scenes, teams across IT are working continuously on external Threat Intelligence and improving the resilience of our technical infrastructure against evolving Cyber threats.

The University of Aberdeen is also Cyber Essentials Plus certified. This certification allows us to demonstrate to research funding bodies and other organisations that our IT systems are securely managed and compliant with security standards.

Cyber Essentials is a UK government scheme that helps organisations protect themselves against common online security threats and enables them to gain a recognised cybersecurity assurance certification. We first achieved certification in early 2019 and are on track to recertify for 2020/21. Find out more at

How you can help

Be aware

Cyber attackers see humans as the weakest line of defence. Because of our natural tendency to trust, we are susceptible to Social Engineering techniques. This means we are more easily blackmailed, coerced or incentivised into perpetrating malicious activity, creating an insider threat.

We need your help to protect the University. Here are the key areas you should be aware of:

  • Phishing and Social Engineering. Everyone knows about it, but it is still the number one delivery mechanism for account/password theft, fraud and the delivery of Malware including Ransomware.
  • Password safety. Using strong, unique passwords for every account goes a long way towards protecting yourself and the University. (You don’t need to remember them all! Use a Password Manager to store and manage your passwords.)
  • Data Protection. Be aware of your Digital Footprint and the impact of your behaviour on Social Media.
  • Physical Security and Remote Working. ‘Real life’ considerations in today’s Cyber world.
  • Cyberbullying and harassment. Looking after yourself and others online.

Visit our library of Guides in Toolkit’s Information Security resource to find out more.

Security Awareness Training

All members of staff are required to complete Security Awareness Training. This is essential to ensure you have a solid knowledge baseline.

If you have not already done so, please visit as soon as possible to complete the training. You can also retake the course at any time to refresh your memory.

And in September we will be introducing Cyber Security Awareness training for students through the Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA). Watch this space.

Have a Cyber-related concern?

The IT Security team will be out and about on campus throughout Cyber Scotland Week.

Look out for our lunchtime pop-up stands on the ground floor or SDRL and the Suttie Centre. Or see us at the Burger me up student event at Hillhead on the evening of 19 February.

Come and chat to us about any concerns you have regarding cyber security. Or test your ability to recognise fraudulent email!

Keep an eye on the University social media channels for details of dates and times.


Author: Information Security Team, DDIS

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