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Computer Security

Securing Your Computer and Information

Keeping your computer secure will help protect against viruses, malware, exploits, hacking attempts, and other malicious activity.

As part of BSC policy, antivirus software must be installed, updated and running on any computer (Windows or Macintosh) that is connecting to the campus network.

BSC does not endorse a particular antivirus program. There are a number of good antivirus programs, free and paid, available to help protect your home or personal computer and mobile devices.
You should not have more than one antivirus program on your computer. Having more than one antivirus program running can cause conflicts and crashes. Remove the unwanted or expired antivirus program before installing a new one.

Please note: The BSC Help Desk is not able to assist with virus removal or provide support on non-BSC owned computers due to potential liability issues such as corrupted files and data loss

Malware (short for malicious software) encompasses a broad range of harmful or unwanted programs that can infect your computer. Antivirus programs generally will detect and remove most malware, but anti-malware programs can more specifically target and remove a wide array of malware and unwanted programs. Installing anti-malware software in addition to an antivirus program will not cause system issues.

Email Safety
Be cautious of attachments and links in email messages, even if you know the sender. If the sender's account was compromised, their email may be used to send out malicious messages. Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments unless you are certain they are safe.

Phishing emails are malicious emails with the intent of stealing a user's login information. They often state the user needs to click on a link and validate their email address or login information. The links direct to fake login sites, where they steal the user names and passwords of those that log in. Neither BSC nor the NDUS would send an email asking you to click a link and log in on a website to verify information. If you receive such emails, delete them.

Update your operating system and software programs
It is important to keep your operating system and software programs updated on your computers and mobile devices. This improves the reliability, security and performance of your device. Updates often patch security vulnerabilities and flaws.

Connect to a secure network
When possible, connect to secure wireless networks rather than public ones. If you must connect to a public network, avoid logging into sensitive sites, such as your bank account. Do not place orders using your credit card when on public networks. The open nature of public wireless can allow someone to snoop on the traffic that is passing through it.

Use strong passwords and change them regularly
Weak passwords are easier to crack. A strong password should contain upper and lower case letters, along with numbers and/or special characters. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. Do not share your passwords with others. Your home router should also be password protected and use encryption.

Social Media
Avoid posting personal information on social media sites. Assume that what you post is permanent - pictures, videos and text you post can be saved by others. Use the privacy tools on social media sites to prevent people you do not know from seeing your information. Be selective about who you accept as friends on social networks. Identity thieves may create fake profiles and send a friend request in order to get information about you.

Back up your data
Always back up your information data files (pictures, videos, documents, etc.) on a regular basis to an external drive or cloud-based storage site. Events such as a hard drive failure, corruption in Windows, or a virus infection could result in data loss on your computer.

Be careful downloading software
If you download a software program from the web, be sure you are getting it from the original software vendor's site. Third party sites may bundle adware or other unwanted programs with their downloads.

Keep your popup blocker on
The popup blocker in your browser prevents unwanted sites and ads from coming up. If it is blocking a legitimate site, do not turn off your blocker, instead, add that site as an exception in your popup blocker settings.

Do not save your passwords
Avoid saving your passwords for online sites. You tend to forget your passwords over time if they are saved in your browser or program. More importantly, it also can pose a security risk if others have access to your computer, or if it becomes compromised with malware.

Online Shopping
When placing orders online, stick with reputable companies, and opt out of saving your credit card information with the site. The convenience of not having to enter your credit card information each time does not outweigh the risk of the site's databases being breached, and your information stolen. As mentioned before, do not enter credit card information when on public computers or public wireless networks.

Use common sense
By following the advice in this documentation, as well as exercising caution and using common sense, you can help minimize the chances of your computer and personal information being compromised.