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Phishing and cyber criminality

Cyber criminals steal personal data using viruses and malware. You may fall victim to such criminal activities, for example by receiving false e-mails on behalf of Leiden University or phishing e-mails. You can read below what the main risks are and what you can do about it.


Phishing is a form of fraud, in which you are asked for information by e-mail or via the telephone. The senders resemble reliable institutions, such as a bank or credit card company. The criminals also use the logo of the organisation in question. You are asked to provide log-in details, credit card information, your PIN or other personal information. To do so you are asked to click a link, install a program or log in elsewhere. The language used is often compelling, and you may be threatened with blocked accounts or transfers.

How can you protect yourself against phishing?

  • Do not react to e-mails requesting personal data 
  • Always check the website’s certificate. The address bar or the text in the address balk should be green. This indicates that this is a secure connection from a specific bank. 
  • If you receive a suspicious phone call hang up and contact the organisation in question. Ask whether they really initiated the call. 
  • Always report phishing e-mails (even if they supposedly come from the ISSC) to the ISSC helpdesk at telephone 8888.

Viruses and malware

Internet criminals sometimes use malware, which they try to install on your device. For example by using a leak in your browser or other software, or by seducing you into opening an infected e-mail attachment. Malware not only might damage your computer, it can also be used to access your log-in codes, bank details and other personal data. Viruses are the best-known form of malware. 

How to prevent viruses and malware?

  • Do not open spam messages, and immediately delete them from your mailbox.
  • Do not open any e-mail from senders unknown to you.
  • Never respond to e-mails requesting passwords or other personal data. 
  • Never respond to e-mails requesting passwords or other personal data. 
  • Use anti-virus software.

Report cyber criminality and phishing

Do you suspect that you have been the victim of cyber criminality? Did your receive a phishing e-mail? Always report this to the ISSC Helpdesk. Forward the phishing mail as an attachment. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. in the Outlook window, click "Home” on the top left.
  2. there you will find the option "More" next to "Forward". 
  3. if you click "More", you will find the option "Forward as attachment".
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