Protecting Yourself

Ultimate responsibility for network usage and protection from unlawful uploading and downloading falls to you, even if someone else is using your equipment or account.  The following are recommendations to help protect yourself.

  1. If you are unsure of a particular application, do not install it.
  2. Do not click on unsolicited links in email, instant messages, pop-up web pages or in social networking sites, even if they are from people you know.
  3. Turn on the firewall provided through your operating system.  According to Microsoft Windows Firewall documentation: 

    A firewall helps to keep your computer more secure. It restricts information that comes to your computer from other computers, giving you more control over the data on your computer and providing a line of defense against people or programs (including viruses and worms) that try to connect to your computer without invitation.

    You can think of a firewall as a barrier that checks information (often called traffic) coming from the Internet or a network and then either turns it away or allows it to pass through to your computer, depending on your firewall settings.

  1. Make sure you have virus protection such as McAfee, Norton, Grisoft AVG, Kaspersky, Microsoft Security Essentials, Trend Micro or another recommended product, update it regularly and run scans regularly.
  2. Make sure you also have anti-spyware protection such as SpyBot, SpywareBlaster or Microsoft Defender, update it regularly and run scans regularly.  (This is different from and in addition to the anti-virus software.)
  3. Power off your equipment whenever it is not in use.
  4. Turn off guest accounts and access to shared folders. 
  5. Make sure that you continue to update your operating system regularly.
  6. Turn off sharing capability in all Internet applications especially peer- to-peer applications such as Napster, iTunes, Bearshare, Gnutella, etc.  Most applications have an option to turn off sharing in the Tools, Options or Preferences.  Bearshare does not have the ability to turn off sharing, so be very careful.  You can find more information about sharing at http://security.uchicago.edu/peer-to-peer/no_fileshare.shtml).
  7. Make your passwords difficult for other people to figure out (use letters and numbers), change them often and do not give them to anyone.  You can find additional information  about password security at http://lifehacker.com/5893510 and http://lifehacker.com/5876541
  8. Do not save files to computers in instructional areas on campus.  Computers automatically reset when rebooted, and your files will be lost. All computers in instructional areas reset themselves. 
  9. Use a pen drive or your SkyDrive to save your files.  We recommend that you keep two pen drives and use your SkyDrive.  If a pen drive stops working, there is very little anyone can do to recover your files.