Living in the digital age means almost everything we do – enrolling in classes, paying for classes, applying for graduation – happens on a computer. Protecting all that data at the University is an important job, one that falls in part to Matt Bing and Maria Sheler-Edwards, specialists at Information Technology Security Services. They’ve shared several tips to keep your computer safe and your data out of the wrong hands.

Angela Cesere

1. If you don’t need it, delete it. Question whether or not you really need to store Social Security numbers or bank details on your computer. If it’s not there, it’s not there for anyone else to find.

2. One of the common myths is that Macintoshes are somehow inherently more secure, and that’s just not the case. The threat is still there. You still have to choose a good password. You still should still install anti-virus software.

3. On places like Facebook and MySpace, we recommend that students think twice before they post personal information, especially addresses and cell phone numbers. It could put you at risk if someone wanted to profile or target you.

4. Make sure you have good backups. You can just copy your data to your AFS space or to a flash drive. Back up anything you’d miss if it was deleted, like school documents, for example.

5. Pick a good password that’s a reasonably complicated mix of numbers and letters, and don’t put it on a post-it note. Use different passwords for different resources, with one for e-mail, one for banking and so on.

6. Phishing e-mails are usually attempts to steal your username, password or PIN number. If you get an e-mail with a link or an attachment from someone you don’t recognize, delete it. No legitimate business is going to ask you for personal information via e-mail.

7. Use anti-virus and automatic-update software on both Windows and Mac computers. Updates ensure that the latest security patches are downloaded and installed to your computer.

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