Saint Louis University has partnered with STOP. THINK. CONNECT. in order to provide secure computing tips for our University community.
Keep a Clean Machine
Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system is the best defense against malware and other online threats. Avast is an excellent free solution for Mac and PC that protects against malware, malicious web sites, and vulnerable WiFi networks.
Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.
Smartphones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware. Ensure they are installed behind a firewall or have security protections enabled.
USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them or avoid using them altogether. Consider using Microsoft OneDrive to securely share and exchange files with other.
Protect Your Personal Information
Fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.
A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “I love country music.”). On many sites, you can even use spaces.
Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords. To keep track of them all, consider using a password manager. Dashlane is an excellent solution for Mac and PC that protects against malware, malicious web sites, and vulnerable WiFi networks. The basic version is free to use.
Connect with Care
Links in emails, social media posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to steal your personal information. Even if you know the source, if something looks suspicious, delete it.
Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
When banking and shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure. Many web browsers will display a lock to in the address bar to indicate that the site is secure.
Be Web Wise
Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online: Check trusted websites for the latest information, and share with friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.
Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, have a financial motive, or ask for personal information.
Protect your valuable work, music, photos and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.
Be a Good Online Citizen
What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.
The Golden Rule applies online as well.
Own Your Online Presence
Information about you, such as your purchase history or location, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected through apps and websites.
Set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.
Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it and how it could be perceived now and in the future.