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Wintec IT students and staff educate peers around cyber security

It’s CERT NZ Cyber Smart Week and to help our staff and students stay cyber safe Wintec students held a cybersecurity awareness session in the City Campus Gallagher Hub.

Students and staff from the Centre for Information Technology (IT) created a safe place to ask questions on how to keep cyber hygiene intact. 

There were quizzes and prizes for the winners, and an opportunity for all staff and students to see how their digital avatar appears online. 

Kaimahi and ākonga also got to see if their emails or phone numbers have been part of a hack without them knowing.

Third year student, Peony Smith, who is studying a Bachelor of IT majoring in Software Engineering, was part of the team of IT students running the information sessions.

“It’s about checking everybody’s cyber hygiene, making sure our students are up to date with what’s going on. My role is to help people with their passwords. So, I’ve been teaching people about using passphrases, not classic, letters, numbers, and special characters because those are easily hacked. Also making sure people aren’t using the same passwords for everything or storing their passwords in their Google account because if someone hacks that one account then they have all your passwords. It’s good to use a password manager, like LastPass, to remember your passwords safely.”

She said one of the easiest ways to hack someone or find information on them, even when they had good cyber hygiene, was through their family and close friends accounts, making it important to teach our whānau and friends about cyber hygiene.

“Our tutor asked us to run this event, but it’s actually been so fun and it’s great to be able to teach other people what we’ve learned,” she said.

Prashant Khanna, Senior Academic Staff Member for Centre for Information Technology, said this was a by student for student event. 

“The motto is ‘be cyber safe, not sorry’. It’s in conjunction with the CERT NZ Cyber Smart Week. There are about 200 partners, but we are the only people in Hamilton who are actually doing it as a session. Basically, it’s just about keeping yourself cyber safe and it’s great to have our students leading us in this,” he said.
Group Director Sam Cunnane said, “this opportunity enables our ākonga to apply what they’ve been learning in class to help other members of the Wintec | Te Pūkenga community to be more secure online.” 

“It’s another example of the work integrated learning opportunities we offer,” he added. 

The awareness campaign is a part of the CERT NZ nation-wide cybersecurity awareness campaign, also celebrated as the NZ Cyber Smart Week 2022.

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