Read our Policy on the Acceptable Use of Information Technology
Keeping your information secure is important
to you and others. We at Smith IT believe that everyone should be aware
of all the threats that are out there and encourage everyone to protect
themselves as best they can. The following are links to some of the
tools and policies Smith IT uses to protect you, as well as ways to
protect yourself against various types of security threats.
Virus - a software program that replicates
and spreads by inserting copies of itself into other executable code or
Worm - similar to a virus, but is
self-contained and does not need to be part of another program to propagate
Trojan - a virus that appears to be a
Adware/Spyware - software that collects
personal information, produces advertising (popups), or changes your
computer's configuration (such as setting your web browser's default home
Phishing - a scam to steal personal
information by tricking you into divulging the information. For example, you
receive an email from what looks to be your bank and you unknowingly give
the information to a third party.
Hacker (Cracker) - someone that tries to
break into a computer to steal information or use it for their own purposes
Spam - unsolicited email
Here are few tips on how to protect yourself from being a victim.
Awareness - Be aware of computer threats.
If your computer is acting up funny, getting tons of popups, try doing some
removal tools to get rid of them early before it gets worst.
DO NOT open suspicious email attachments -
Whether they are from individuals you know or individuals you don't know. A
great example would be the Mydoom/Novarg virus. The virus would infect
someone's machine, then looks at the address book on the machine, and emails
itself to everyone on the address book and randomly uses another entry from
the address book as the sender.
Be on the lookout for Phishing scams -
Knowing how to tell the difference between a legitimate email versus a
phishing fraud can save you a lot of trouble. Take a Phishing Quiz to see if
you can spot a scam.
Strong Password - A good password is at
least 8 characters long, and contains a combination of both upper and lower
case letters, numbers and special characters (e.g. !@#$%^&). Better still,
is a passphrase such as RHSmith is a gr3@t school!.
A passphrase makes it easier to remember a long password and is much harder
Run Anti-Virus Software - Be sure that you
have an anti-virus software program installed and running (with updates
enable) on your computer. Campus offers anti-virus software for free to
members of the University community. The software can be downloaded
Firewall - If your computer is directly
connected to the internet via a Cable/DSL modem or on the campus network, it
is recommended that you run a software firewall to restrict access to your
computer over the network. Windows XP w/ SP2 has a built-in software
firewall that is enabled by default. To verify that the Widows firewall is
running, go to Start Menu > Settings >
Control Panel > Security Center. If you use a
router at home to share a Cable or DSL connection, the router has a built-in
firewall that protects your computer. However, it is always a good idea to
run the Windows Firewall as well.
Run Windows Updates - Make sure you have
Windows Automatic Update enable on your computer. This will help to keep
Windows up to date with the last software patches and bugs fixes. To verify
that the Widows Automatic Update is enable, go to Start Menu
> Settings > Control Panel >
Security Center. This is very important because some security
attacks will go through bugs in Windows and will make people think it is a
virus. An example would be the Sasser worm. The worm attacked everyone that
did not have the latest security patches and even if the anti-virus
protection was up to date, they were still infected.
Spyware/Adware Removal Tools - There are
several free spyware/adware removal tools out there. Generally speaking,
these tools have to be run and updated manually, so be sure to check for
updates each time you run them.