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Security Suggested Practice:

Principle #1:
Create a strong password. Strong passwords are much harder to break which will make your data much safer. A strong password is at least 8 charactors, does not contain any words found in the dictionary and is a mix of numbers and letters. A good example of a strong password is I9x5jEi78. As you can see, the password contains random numbers and letters that do not repeat.

Principle #2
Protect your password. You can have the most secure password in the world, but if you tape it under your keyboard or stick it to the monitor you lose all the security you tried so hard to gain. Once you remember your password and know you will not forget it, throw away the paper it was written on. Another important not is try not to give your password out to anyone. If you do let someone use your password, change it as soon as possible.

Principle #3
Keep your Virus software up to date. Schedule your antivirus software to automatically update and do a full system scan at least one per week. If you maintain a good password and keep virii of your system you are well on your way to having a secure system

Principle #4
Keep your operating system up to date. One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to regularly check for updates to your operating system. For Windows machines you can go to Microsoft's Windows Update Site and follow the instructions. The update program will look at the updates you need to have installed and give you the option to review and then install all of the updates you have listed. Generally, if you are able to install all of the "Critical" and "Windows Updates" your computer will be much more secure then before. It may take a few reboots before your system is completely updated.

Principle #5
Use an adware and popup blocker. We suggest using an ad searching software and a popup blocker, which can both be found for free. Our ad searching software of choice is Adaware by Lavasoft - this software will scan your system looking for spyware and other malicious software that you system will pick up when browsing the internet. It is very similar to a virus scan software, and over time updates will be necessary. We also suggest using a popup blocker which can be found for free and comes preinstalled on the Netscape and Mozilla browsers.

Principle #6
Use a hardware or software firewall, or both. If you have a broadband connection that is always on you are leaving your system up and vulnerable to a brute force attack. Two easy ways to stop the hacker in his tracks are to install a hardware firewall and/or install a software firewall such as Zone Alarm. A hardware firewall is better known as a cable/dsl gateway - if the box or manual says that it is a NAT Firewall you have the right hardware. You will install this box between your cable modem and computers. An alternative to a hardware firewall is a software firewall, which blocks traffic when it tries to hit your system. Software firewalls are much easier to customize and will allow you to let traffic you trust hit your system or block traffic that you don't trust.

Principle #7
Look at our Tutorials section for links to Virus scanning software, popup blockers, browsers, ad removers, and more

If you have any further questions, please contact us by email at callcenter@stcl.edu or call 713.646.8040 x. 1555

 




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