October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month — the perfect time to think about cybersecurity and your online safety. UITS encourages you to take the time this month to enhance your online security by following some easy to remember tips that you may not think about regularly:
- Choose strong passphrases
- Use VPN when making a wireless internet connection from off campus.
- Be careful of public, untrusted wireless networks. Do banking and other sensitive activities on campus or at home.
- Use free virus protection software you can get from IU and configure it to update daily.
- Update your operating system and apply patches regularly. Donâ€™t forget to update your software, too.
- Never share your passphrase, it’s unsafe and against IU policy
- Enable your computer’s firewall
- Log into your computer as a user without administrator privileges for everyday work
- Always log out of public computers when through – and lock them when you step away temporarily
- Use your access to IT legally, and for educational purposes
Is your Facebook or MySpace profile a biography?
Picture social networking sites as billboards in cyberspace. Police, college admissions personnel, employers, stalkers, con artists, nosy neighbors â€“ anyone can see what you post. Don’t disclose anything about yourself, your friends, or family members that you wouldn’t want to be made public. And remember that once information appears on a web site, it can never be completely erased. Even if it’s modified or deleted, older versions may exist on others’ computers. Some social networking sites allow users to restrict access to certain people. Ensure that you understand how the site works and what privacy features are available to you.
Back up important files
No system is completely secure. If you have important files stored on your computer, copy them onto a removable disk, and store them in a secure place in a different building than your computer. If a different location isn’t practical, consider encryption software. Encryption software scrambles a message or a file in a way that can be reversed only with a specific password. Also, make sure you keep your original software start-up disks handy and accessible for use in the event of a system crash.
Protect your personal information – it’s valuable
Why? To an identity thief, your personal information can provide instant access to your financial accounts, your credit record, and your other personal assets.
If you think no one would be interested in your personal information, think again. The reality is that anyone can be a victim of identity theft. In fact, according to a Federal Trade Commission survey, there are almost 10 million victims every year. It’s often difficult to know how thieves obtained their victims’ personal information, and while it definitely can happen offline, some cases start when online data is stolen. Visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft to learn what to do if your identity is stolen.
Hackers are lazy
When it comes to securing your computer (or your house, car, or anything else for that matter), most criminals tend to be lazy â€“- that is, they want the path of least resistance. So, itâ€™s not that they want your username and passphrase, per se, they just want access to things like a valid email account, our network, or your computer that they can add to their network of compromised machines.
Bottom line, you would never leave your house or car unlocked â€” donâ€™t leave your computer unsecured either. A few basic steps will usually cause a hacker to move on to an easier target.
For more tips on how to stay safe and secure online, visit: