Top Ten Security Measures

These are ways to protect yourself and the campus systems:

  1. Use a strong password
  2. Use e-mail wisely
  3. Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software
    • Allow anti-virus and anti-spyware to automatically update so you will be protected against the latest threats as soon as patches become available.
  4. Be cautious online
    • Look for "https" at the beginning of a website before you enter any personal information.  The "s" on "http" means the site is using SSL to encrypt your data before sending it across the web.
    • Be wary of downloading free software from the internet as it may often contain spyware, viruses, or other malware.
    • Be wary of popups which pretend to be security notifications from your computer.  Malicious websites often trick users into downloading their malicious software by pretending the download is necessary to protect the computer.  Exit your browser by holding down the Alt and F4 keys to close your browser instead of clicking to close the popup.
  5. Use firewalls
    • Firewalls are systems that prevent attackers from accessing your computer.  It is a good idea to periodically check to see if your firewall is turned on.
  6. Install OS and application updates
    • It is important to keep all software updated, not just your security software.  This is because vulnerabilities are constantly being found and exploited in much of the software we regularly use.  If you do not update the software you will not receive the patch to protect you from the vulnerabilities that have been discovered.
    • Software you should regularly update includes, but is not limited to; OS, Web Browsers, Plugins, Security Software, Java, Flash, Applications, etc.
  7. Watch for signs of attack
    • If your computer is compromised it may run slowly, lock up, stop responding, lock up often, or crash and restart frequently.
    • You may notice your antivirus icon is gone from your system tray.
    • You may encounter pop-ups that you cannot close or persistent prompts telling you that you have been infected.
    • Contact your area technician or the Service Desk if you suspect that your computer is infected.
  8. Do not enter confidential information in an insecure manner
    • Public computers may already be compromised with malicious software such as key loggers which can record keystrokes to obtain your login information.
    • Using an unsecured or unknown source of wifi such as "free public wifi" can open you up to attackers who can listen to your internet traffic and pull your login information from it.
    • Be wary of shoulder surfers who may simply look over your shoulder to obtain confidential information from you.
  9. Ensure the physical security of your computer
    • If a hacker can physically get access to your computer they are far more likely to successfully steal information from it.
    • Lock your office when you are not in it and question anyone that gains access to it without your permission.
    • Use a screen saver with a password and always lock your computer even if you are only stepping away for a moment. 
  10. Handle sensitive data properly
    • The best way to protect sensitive data on your computer is to not have it there at all.
    • If it must be there it is important to encrypt the data.
    • Private Sensitive Information Policy