IT Security | Stay Secure and Protect your Privacy Online

The Internet can be a dangerous place with viruses, malware and spyware lurking at every click! Have a look at the tips below to ensure that your computing devices and your important personal information are properly protected.

Avoiding Viruses and malware:

– Make sure you are running anti-virus software on your computing devices and that it is up-to-date so it can detect all the latest viruses and malware.

– Regularly scan your computer for spyware and adware using an up-to-date tool to keep your computer clear of dangerous malware.

– Don’t let the software installed on your devices fall too far out-of-date, older software is often less secure and can be missing important security updates.

– Be selective about what software you download especially when it is “freeware” and “shareware” as these can sometimes be sources of spyware infections.

– Always browse carefully, certain sites are higher risk than others and dangerous links can be well disguised or hidden inside the text of a website.

– Don’t click on links within pop-up windows like the one below. Pop-up windows are often a product of spyware and clicking on the window may install spyware software on your computer. To close the pop-up window, click on the “X” icon in the titlebar instead of a “close” link within the window.

Protect your Privacy Online
– Take care on public unencrypted Wi-Fi connections such as those in café’s, hotels and airports where your communications could be intercepted. Remember College staff members can use the College VPN which provides an encrypted tunnel to access the College network securely.

– Use strong passwords both for your College accounts and all your personal accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, PayPal and remember don’t use the same password for everything. As this increases the likelihood of multiple accounts getting hacked at once potentially turning a small problem into a disaster!

– Think carefully about the information that you post about yourself online. Don’t make large amounts of data such as name, address and date of birth available publicly as these could be used by criminals involved in identify theft.

– When using social media sites such as Facebook, always use the privacy controls provided to restrict access to information about you to your friends only.

– Be aware that many free services and apps collect detailed information about you that allows them to sell highly-target advertising. When you download a “free” app always check the information it is asking to access, and make sure you are comfortable with allowing that information to be used for advertising and other marketing purposes.

– Be cautious about geo-location services, Smart phones, apps, and web services often tag and store information about your location. Sometimes this may be very useful in providing a service such as locating the nearest restaurant but just make sure you are comfortable with the amount of information which may be collected and consider turning off location services when you are not actively using them.

– Reduce your digital footprint by closing old accounts which you no longer use, these could be older social media services like MySpace or Bebo, or current services which you have stopped using.

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