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Digital threats are rapidly increasing, which requires us to take extra security measures. Just in the last few weeks, Maastricht University fell victim to a large Ransomware attack, our University dealt with a range of Phishing E-mails and severe security issues were uncovered in Citrix (in use at the AUAS) and in Windows 10. These examples show how important it is to secure our data. Working safely in a digital environment is extremely important for the UvA, and we are working on a variety of projects with which we make sure our files and our data are safe and secure. Such projects include the Secure Self Project, the implementation of Multi-Factor Authentication and increased monitoring on our network.

Secure Self: security of self-managed UvA devices with Intune

In 2019, more than 300 self-managed UvA laptops and mobile work phones - of which the level of security was uncertain - went missing. This is why from now on we will use Intune (company portal) to encrypt these devices, provide them with a password and register them. This is done in order to secure the data they contain - and your privacy - more efficiently. The goal of this project is not to take away your current liberties, but to ensure your digital safety. In order to secure your data adequately, it is imperative that we can block or wipe your UvA device remotely in case of loss, theft or infection.

Increased monitoring

Our ICT experts are actively monitoring our systems for digital threats in order to detect and deal with them at an early stage. Every security incident - both inside and outside of our organization - allows us to learn and adapt our security measures in order to prevent further threats.

Quick and adequate actions

When there is an urgent threat, such as the ransomware attack at Maastricht University, quick and adequate actions are required in order to prevent (further) damage. This could mean that we take precautions that cause hindrance, such as temporarily blocking access to a system. Or that we take precautions for which we contact the Data Protection Officer (or ask for participation) afterwards, in situations where we would otherwise have done so beforehand.

We cannot do this alone

We are constantly taking technical precautions, but we also require your help the coming period. If you remain vigilant and deal with your data - and the data of your colleagues - securely, this will allow us to deal with digital threats more efficiently. Especially when you follow our safety instructions when it comes to, for instance, securing your mobile devices.

Frank Hendrickx
Director ICT Services