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Northwestern University

Incident Response


I suspect I'm a victim of a phishing scam, what's going to happen now?

If you are a victim of a phishing attempt, your email account and NetID will be quarantined. You will not be able to access University resources and won't be able to read your emails.

Weinberg College IT will be working along with Northwestern IT security personnel to get you back up and running as soon as possible. To report a phishing attempt or have clicked on a suspicious email, please contact Northwestern IT Security.

How can I tell if an email is legitimate or a phishing scam?

When you receive any email requesting personally identifiable information, follow these best practices to protect yourself and Northwestern University.

  • NEVER reply to an unsolicited email that asks for your personal information, including requests for passwords, Social Security Numbers, or requests for credit card information.
  • Remember that Northwestern University will never request personal information via email. Other institutions like your bank or credit card company will not email you requesting this type of information either.
  • Get familiar with common phishing schemes, and how to avoid them.

Lost or Stolen Laptop

My laptop was stolen! What can I do now?

Contact Northwestern's Department of Public Safety, Weinberg College IT Solution, and the University Information Security Office. There are steps we can take to try to recover your Northwestern University owned laptop of at least pinpoint who stole it.

How can I protect my data against the possibility of something happening to my laptop?

Good data practices can significantly decrease the amount of private information and data exposed if something happens to your laptop.

  • Avoid storing sensitive data on your laptop. A database full of usernames, passwords, and social security numbers should never be put onto a portable device. This should be stored in a centrally accessible repository like Box or LastPass. Any data that is restricted should NOT be stored on any unencrypted laptop. See more on understanding what is "confidential/restricted" data here.
  • Use an encrypted device. Encryption locks your data away so that even if someone has access to the physical device, then can't get into the data. Starting in April 2018, Weinberg College IT now encrypts every computer we set up. If your computer is not currently encrypted, email Weinberg College IT to request this service.
  • Back up your data consistently. Use Box or RDSS for large data files. For disaster recovery, your files are captured in CrashplanPRO. Weinberg College IT installs CrashplanPRO on every computer that we set up.
  • Physical security is important. When you travel, carry your laptop in a laptop backpack or other multi-use bag. Carrying laptops in expensive, single-use cases says "Expensive laptop here!" Keep a close eye on your bags as you go through security checks, especially if you are selected for head-to-toe checks, which can separate you from your bags. Once you board a flight, put the computer under the seat in front of you when possible and avoid putting it in an overhead bin.
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