Tips for Safe Computing

Watch these videos for an entertaining overview.

More detailed information on each of the topics covered in the videos can be found below.

This detailed information enhances the information found in our Safe Computing videos.

Safe Computing @ St. Lawrence -- Introduction | File Management & Backup | Maintaining a Recovery Disk
Firewall and Virus Protection
| Phishing | Passwords | Illegal File Sharing

Safe Computing @ St. Lawrence -- Introduction

File Management & Backup

  • Click here for information on Managing Files @ St Lawrence
  • Internet based file storage systems (such as Drop Box) are becoming popular. IT recommends restricting the use of such systems to non-sensitive data
  • Keep in mind that all data storage media could (CD/DVDs, flash drives, hard drives, etc.) eventually fail. Always backup to multiple locations
  • Some media are more dependable than others. USB-flash drives are very convenient, but they are easily lost or damaged
  • Both Macs and PCs have ways to backup your entire hard drive
    • On Mac, this is called Time Machine and it requires an external/portable hard drive
    • PCs have Restore Points

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Maintaining a Recovery Disk

  • A Recovery Disk allows one to restore their computer (programs and system settings) to the state it was in when you unboxed your computer
    • Note: this DOES NOT restore data files (your documents, pictures, music, etc.)
  • Recovery Disks often come in the box with your new computer
    • If not, manufacturers provide options for creating a Recovery Disk or contacting the manufacturer directly

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Firewall and Virus Protection

  • A Firewall protects a computer from unauthorized access through the Internet
    • All St. Lawrence computers and the network are protected. You should protect your home network and personal computers as well using a router with a built in firewall
  • Malware is a computer program designed specifically to damage or disrupt a system, such as a virus or spyware/adware
  • Viruses can change your computer or files without your knowledge, often in destructive ways
  • Viruses can be attached to downloads so consider whether you really need a program and the trustworthiness of the source before you download
  • Never click pop-ups! Some pop ups are clever and disguise themselves as legitimate programs and may even tell you that your computer is infected and to click here to clean it up
  • Always keep your operating system and virus protection up to date

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Phishing

  • Phishing is a tactic used to gain sensitive information from people
  • Usually seen in the form of emails requesting confirmation of financial information, etc
  • NEVER follow a link from an unsolicited email as you may be directed to a convincingly fake website which is looking to capture your personal information
    • Go to the website directly - that way you know the website is the real one
  • Keep on top of your financial transactions so you can spot suspicious activity
  • When actually entering sensitive information, always make sure the URL begins with HTTPS (the S means that it is Secure)

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Passwords

  • Don't reuse the same password for all of your accounts
  • Make sure your password is STRONG...a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols and a minimum of 8 characters
  • For added security, change your passwords regularly
  • It is also a good idea to password lock a computer when you leave -- even temporarily
  • Whenever possible, use a passcode to secure portable electronic devices (cellphones, iPods) and NEVER leave them unattended in an unsecure location

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Illegal/Copyrighted File Sharing

  • Peer to Peer file sharing of copyrighted material is ILLEGAL and may result in fines and/or jail time
    • Illegal filesharing also deprives creative artists and distribution companies of income
  • Files made available through peer-to-peer networks are a common source of malware and virus infection

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