The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has several measures in place to block as many cybersecurity attacks as possible. However, today’s cybercriminals use clever tactics in an attempt to access sensitive data. The good news is that most of these attacks are avoidable.

That’s why it is critical for each member of the Trocaire community to know how to protect themselves and their information from these cyberattacks. The more you are aware of these tactics, able to identify them, and know how to handle them, the more you’ll be able to keep yourself and your information safe.

Below are some of the most common tactics cybercriminals use:

  • Hacking: Hacking is the act of identifying and then exploiting weaknesses in a computer system or network, usually to gain unauthorized access to personal or organizational data. Types of hacking include social engineering, hacking passwords, infecting devices with malware, exploiting insecure wireless networks, gaining backdoor access, spying on emails, and logging keystrokes.
  • Phishing: Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails or other messages pretending to be from reputable people in your organization or companies to lure individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware attacks involve a cybercriminal hacking your computer and locking it, then notifying you that you have to pay money to get it unlocked.
  • Robocalls: A robocall is a phone call that delivers pre-recorded messages through auto-dialing software to millions of people each day. If you answer your phone and hear a recorded message instead of a real person speaking, you are listening to a robocall. Some robocalls provide useful information, such as appointment reminders or flight cancellations. Mostly, though, they are trying to sell you something, and many of them are scams.


Caution icon

The biggest weakness in a cybersecurity strategy is humans, and social engineering (such as phishing) takes advantage of a targeted user’s inability to detect an attack. With phishing attempts on the rise in all industries across the globe, it’s critical that you stay vigilant in the digital environment.

Learn how to protect yourself from phishing attacks.

Tips to Stay Cyber-Safe

Select the headings below to learn more about preventative actions you can take to protect yourself and your information.

A big part of hacking is getting hold of users’ passwords. It is therefore essential to use a strong and unique password for each online account. A strong password is made up of at least 12 characters – ideally more – and is a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters. It can be difficult keeping track of multiple passwords, so using a password manager can help.

By resetting your password every few months (or as needed if you believe your account has been compromised) it can help reduce the likelihood that your account is hacked. Use the links below to learn how to reset your Trocaire related passwords: 

Successful hacking often starts with phishing emails or texts. When a new email or text message arrives, and it includes a link or attachment, our initial instinct can often be to click or tap on it. Avoid this temptation – don’t open messages from unknown senders, never click on a link or open an attachment in an email you’re not sure about and delete messages you suspect to be spam. Learn more about phishing. If you receive an email to your Trocaire email address and you’re unsure if it’s legitimate, when in doubt, contact the IT Help Desk. 

A digital footprint is the data you leave behind when using the internet. It’s a good idea to proactively manage your digital footprint – steps you can take include: 

  • Deleting old personal accounts and apps you no longer use 
  • Reviewing your privacy settings on social media and ensuring these are set to a level you feel comfortable with 
  • Being careful about what you post and avoiding disclosing personal or financial details about yourself in public 
  • Checking your browser for cookies and regularly deleting unwanted cookies 
  • Using privacy tools such as anonymous browsers, private search engines or anti-tracking tools 

Updates typically include the latest security patches – that is, solutions to the security vulnerabilities which hackers love to exploit. By making sure that your operating system, applications, and devices are kept up to date, you maximize your security against hackers. 

Keep devices stored securely. Always lock your devices using either fingerprint recognition, a secure PIN (not something obvious like your date of birth) or a unique gesture. Install Find My iPhone (Apple) or set up Find My Device (Android) in case your phone goes missing. 

Only download software from sites you trust. Carefully evaluate free software and file-sharing applications before downloading them. Only carry out transactions on websites which have an up-to-date security certificate – they will start with HTTPS instead of HTTP and there will be padlock icon in the address bar. Be selective about who you share your data with.

Hackers can use certain features on your phone to identify your information, location, or connection. To prevent this, turn off your GPS, wireless connection, and geo-tracking when you don’t need them.

When you go online in a public place using a public Wi-Fi connection, you have no direct control over its security. If you are using public Wi-Fi, avoid carrying out personal transactions such as online banking or online shopping. If you do need to do this, use a Virtual Private Network or VPN. A VPN will protect any data you send over an unsecured network. If you don’t use a VPN, then save any personal transactions until you are able to use a trusted internet connection.

Make sure that you have the best security software installed on your device. A good antivirus should work 24/7 to secure your devices and data, blocking common and complex threats like viruses, malware, ransomware, spy apps and all the latest hacker tricks.