Security and Privacy

Passwords

Creating a Stronger Password

  • Make your password easy to remember but hard for someone else to guess.
  • Make it moderately long (14+ characters)
  • Use a seemingly random combination of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols
  • Don’t use words find in the dictionary, familiar names, hobbies, pet names, or any other that could be easily detected

Managing and Protecting your Password

  • Change each of your password every 180 days
  • Never write down or electronically store your password; someone else might see it

Virus Protection

 A computer virus is a piece of software that has been written to surreptitiously enter your computer system and "infect" your files. Some viruses are benign and won't harm your system, while others are destructive and can damage or destroy your data. Typically a computer virus will replicate itself and try to infect as many files and systems as possible.

Trojan Horse

A Trojan horse is a type of virus which enters a computer system by the sharing of infected program files or when an infected program is downloaded from the Internet. As the name implies, its trademark is deceptiveness. Victims are falsely lured into thinking that their computer systems will benefit from the infected program when in reality, the Trojan horse is waiting for a "trigger" event (such as open an email attachment) to occur so that it can activate its damaging behavior.

Computer Worm

A computer worm is another type of virus. It infects entire networks of computers by making a copy of itself as it moves from system to system. In recent releases, worms have been found in e-mail attachments and are activated when the victim tries to open the infected file.

Virus Symptoms

  • Unusual messages or displays on your monitor
  • Unusual sounds or music played at random times
  • Your system has less available memory than it should
  • A disk or volume name has been changed
  • Programs or files are suddenly missing
  • Unknown programs or files have been created
  • Some of your files become corrupted or suddenly don't work properly

Protect Your Computer

  • Update your operating system regularly
  • Install good Anti-virus Software such as (Symantec, MacAfee, Kaspersky, Sophos, Panda)
  • Keep your anti-virus software current
  • Configure the antivirus to scan all removable media
  • Use Firewalls on the internet
  • Don’t open unknown e-mail attachments
  • Know what you download from the internet

If a Virus is Discovered

  • Try to clean or delete the file(s) if an anti-virus software is installed
  • If you receive an email attachment that your anti-virus software flags or detects, delete it immediately
  • You might also want to contact all the people that you've recently exchanged data with -- via email attachments, flash drives, etc.

Firewalls

A firewall is a software program or piece of hardware that helps screen out hackers, viruses, and worms that try to reach your computer over the Internet. A personal computer connected to the Internet without a firewall can be hijacked and added to an Internet outlaw's botnet in just a few minutes. A firewall can block malware that could otherwise scan your computer for vulnerabilities and then try to break in at a weak point. The only way to make a home computer 100% secure is to turn it off or disconnect it from the Internet.

At a minimum, home computers need to have personal firewall, antivirus and anti-spyware software installed and kept up-to-date. A home network that uses a wired or wireless router with firewall features provides additional protection.

Recommended Firewalls

Never use two personal firewall software products at the same time. Fully uninstall one before installing another to prevent compatibility problems. After installation, be sure to test it to make sure that it is configured correctly. Testing is the only sure way to tell that your computer is really being protected.