2020-Cyber Security students help commuters stay s

Cyber Security students help commuters stay safe online at Glasgow Central pop-up Clinic

Thu, 20 Feb 2020 12:09:00 GMT

Rail passengers are getting free online safety advice from GCU’s Cyber Security Clinic at Glasgow Central Station this week.

The Clinic’s members are marking Cyber Scotland Week 2020 by sharing their expert knowledge on how to protect against online security attacks.

The team has advised thousands of members of the public since it was founded last year.

"We’ve been really busy and finding that people are mostly concerned about password security," said second-year GCU Cyber Security and Networking student Hannah McCartney (pictured, left, with Cameron Struthers and Cora Curran, who are both studying Digital Security Forensics and Ethical Hacking). "So, we’re telling them how easy it is to break simple passwords and how they can create a stronger one by, for example, using a phrase of a few words that they can easily remember. People have been shocked when we tell them that their six-character password could take just a minute to crack.

"People have a wide range of concerns and there’s a huge variety in people’s technical ability, yet all of us are increasingly going online to complete everyday tasks. Some people are, for example, concerned that they are being watched or worried about getting viruses, so we are reassuring them that they just need to follow a simple series of procedures to stay safe."

The Clinic has given students an opportunity to share their expertise at pop-up events in public spaces, schools and at SmartSTEM events across the country, as well as answering questions through their website.

"I’m interested in anti-viruses for my phone," said Damian Tausney, who stopped by at the Central Station clinic. "I’m concerned that when you open a connection, you are often asked for information, then receive warnings. This is a great forum, especially for older people as we can feel left behind as technology moves so fast. It’s great to be able to get expert advice.

The University’s Head of Cyber Security and Networks, Dr Jackie Riley, is delighted by the public’s response.

"It’s been great to see the students out of the classroom and the security labs, meeting people and applying their knowledge. The Cyber Clinic is about helping the public, in line with the University’s Common Good commitment, and it enables our students to sharpen their communication skills.

"The Cyber Clinic is meeting a genuine need. Often people don’t really know what they should ask and so this gives them an opportunity to come and have a chat and learn for our student experts. People can be very vulnerable – by simply going online to shop or using social media to keep in touch with grandkids when they don’t fully understand what they are doing and their privacy and security settings, and that’s what criminals can prey on. So we help them stay safe and, in turn, they share what they have learned with friends and family and that ripple effect ultimately helps to improve the country’s cyber resilience."

Visit the online clinic at www.gcu.ac.uk/cebe/cybersecurityclinic/