Weekly cyber news update

NCSC Annual report

The National Cyber Security Centre have released their Annual Review for 2019

From great stats, Cyber security for individuals and families to sectors supported by NCSC Incident Management, have a read of the developments and highlights from the last twelve months at the NCSC.

  • 177,335

        Took down 177,335 phishing URLs, 62.4% of which were removed within 24 hours

  • 14,234

        Awarded 14,234 Cyber Essentials certificates


  • UK Cyber Survey 2019

  • The top five sectors supported by NCSC Incident Management


In other news...


Password Apps

Passwords can be hard to remember and writing them down in a notepad is bad practice! Wired have created Best Passwords managers guide, take a look at what they recommend for your personal devices.

Why not just use your browser?

Yes, your web browser can store and auto fill passwords for you. So why not just do that? Because storing passwords in your browser may not be the best line of defence. If other people (like the system admin in your office) have access to your computer, they maybe able to access all of your passwords in plaintext. Dedicated apps can generate strong passwords for you and auto fill any passwords outside the browser, like in your banking or shopping apps.

Its important to check your browsers protection around stored passwords before you click auto store, as the protection differs between browsers. 


Firefox updated browser

If you're serious about protecting your information online, Firefox and its collection of privacy tools can guard your personal data as you browse websites. 

By default now, Mozilla's Firefox web browser for Windows and MacOS will protect you from trackers that gather your browsing history, cross-site tracking cookies that follow you from site to site (and is how ads follow you around), cryptominers that secretly use your device's resources to mine cryptocurrency and fingerprinter that uniquely identify you based on your device, settings and apps.

But much of the work that Firefox does on your privacy's behalf happens in the background, so to shine a light on the lengths that sites go to track you online, Firefox now comes with a privacy report that gives you a real-time view into how frequently websites try to gather information about you without your consent. 

How to use Firefox's privacy report and more information can be found here.

Students at Oxford can access free and discounted software via the IT resources page here. This includes Firefox, Sophos anti-virus software and lots more.


Cyber criminals attack the network system at Swindon College.

Back in September 2019, Swindon College were subject to a targeted cyber-attack; It was suspected that hackers had gained unauthorised access to data retained from those who attended or worked at the college during the last eight years – sparking fear among those affected.

Following a full and thorough review into the causes and impact of this attack Swindon College have now advised that no personal data relating to current and former staff, students and other college users was extracted.

Swindon College announced on Twitter:

‘The privacy and confidentially of personal information held on our systems is of the highest priority to the college and we are focused on ensuring we are fully able to safeguard our network from possible future attacks of this kind’