IT Security Basics
Below are the main areas to protect your data.
The University of Akron will never e-mail you and ask you to disclose or verify your UA password. If you receive a suspicious e-mail with a link to update your account information, do not click on the link--instead, report the e-mail to The University of Akron for investigation.
Never give your UAnet password to anyone. UA employees will never ask for your UAnet password for any reason.
Your UAnet password should be used only with University of Akron systems. Using it for another website or service will lower the security of your password on both systems. Use a strong password on all accounts like banking sites, social networking sites, commerce sites, etc.
Set a strong user account password on your computer. Follow UA’s password guidelines when creating your UAnet password.
Use a standard user account for daily use, rather than an account with administrative privileges. This will help limit the damage done by malware infestations.
Disable Autoplay on the computer. This helps prevent viruses from being spread via thumb drives and discs. Autoplay is off by default in Windows 7+ but there is still the potential for a malicious USB drive to harm a system, always exercise causion of using unknown USB flash drives in your system.
To prevent someone from accessing your computer when you leave it unattended, you should have a password protected screensaver that is on a short timer. It is also a good idea to lock your computer (windows key + "L") before you leave it unattended for any amount of time.
Require a password on wakeup. This helps prevent someone from getting on your computer when it has gone into sleep mode and they wake it up.
Do not leave your mobile computing devices (laptops, phones, etc.) unattended in public areas.
Back up critical files in a secure location. No system is completely immune from a malicious attack or from a hardware or software failure that could unexpectedly and suddenly destroy files. Always ensure that your most important data is backed up just in case. For example, copy files to an external USB hard drive, cloud storage (MS OneDrive, Google Drive, etc.) see the acceptable use guidelines, USB key etc.
Enable automatic updating for all software, including but not limited to:
Operating System (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux), Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Office Software (Microsoft Office, Open Office, etc.), Java, Acrobat Reader, Adobe Flash, Email clients…
This will help assure that your computer has the patches to prevent the newest exploits.
Use UA’s VPN service when on an unsecured wireless network, such as at a hotel, airport, or coffee shop. This encrypts your data so it cannot be intercepted by others using the same unprotected wireless network.
Never leave your laptop or mobile device unattended.
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are subject to many of the same security issues as traditional computers.
All of these tools are free to download for personal use. Your University owned computer will already have antivirus software installed.
- Windows Operating Systems: Microsoft Security Essentials (for Windows 7 and older, as Windows 8 and newer already has Defender built in), Free AVG Antivirus
- Macintosh Operating Systems: Sophos Antivirus/Anti-Malware , ClamXav
Windows Software Inspector:
- Secunia Personal Software Inspector is a nice tool to make sure your computer software is up to date and free of security issues. This is a complementary program to antivirus tools.
- KeePass password safe KeePass is a portable password manager for PC (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X), with ports available for Android, iPhone, iPad, and more.
- Gnu GPG with documentation GnuPG allows to encrypt and sign your data and communication, features a versatile key management system as well as access modules for all kinds of public key directories.
- LastPass is a free service that securely stores all your passwords in a central location, available on any platform (Smartphones, tablets, computers). This allows you to set very strong passwords on your critical accounts while only having to remember one master password.