Saint Louis University has partnered with STOP. THINK. CONNECT. in order to provide secure computing tips for our University community.
Protect Your Devices
Antivirus software is the best defense against malware and other online threats to your devices. Keeping that software updated is also very important, as new risks and security vulnerabilities are discovered daily. It is best to use software that scans your device to find and remove potential threats. Avast is an excellent free solution for both PC and Mac users.
Keeping your operating system, browser, and other software updated is essential to keep your devices safe. Software companies regularly put security patches in updates, and they are needed to correct any known vulnerabilities. Make sure your commonly used applications like Office, Adobe, and your preferred web browser are set to automatically update.
Smartphones, tablets, and other web-enabled devices also need protection. Using a fingerprint, passcode, or facial recognition to access your device is the easiest way to do this. Use caution before downloading mobile apps. As a best practice, download from managed services such as the official app store for your device or operating. Also, it is best to enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to verify your identity when logging into any of your applications, especially your financial accounts.
If you need to use a USB or other external device, please use your security software to scan them first. These external devices could contain malware. It is recommended that you consider using Microsoft OneDrive or other well-known cloud storage services to securely share and exchange files with others.
Protect Your Personal Information
A strong password should be at least 12 characters long and include both uppercase and lowercase letters and special characters. It is important not to have any ties to personal information, like important dates or family names. We recommend using a proper sentence with at least four words (such as a lyric, quote, or aspirational statement) as your password. Not only will it be easy to remember, but it will also be nearly impossible to crack.
Create unique passwords for all your different accounts. At the minimum, your password for work and personal accounts should not be the same, but it is best if every password is unique. Password managers like Dashlane, Lastpass, or 1Password are excellent solutions to keep track of all your passwords. The basic versions are free to use. Enabling 2FA on your financial accounts will also help boost your security.
Connect with Care
Links in emails, social media posts, and online advertising are used by cybercriminals 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://," which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. "Http://" is not secure. Many web browsers will display a lock in the address bar to indicate that the site is secure.
Be Web Wise
Scams get more elaborate every day, and scammers are always coming up with new ideas to access information and accounts. Keep up to date on these vulnerabilities, and if you hear of a new threat, share it with your community to keep them safe as well.
Email scammers use many tactics to get you to give up information or click a malicious link. Start by asking yourself three simple questions:
- Is the sender's email address unfamiliar to you or from a domain different than what you would expect (e.g., gmail.com instead of slu.edu)?
- Is the sender creating a sense of urgency, encouraging you to act immediately?
- Is there a financial motivation, such as a work-from-home opportunity or request for financial 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.
Don't post anything you would not want to be posted about yourself. Be kind and keep private information secure.
Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) and to your local law enforcement or state attorney general as appropriate.
Own Your Online Presence
Information is a valuable asset in this day and age. Everything from your purchase history to your passwords is valuable, so be thoughtful about who is given that information and how it is collected through apps and websites.
It's OK to limit how and with whom you share information. Make sure to set your privacy level for what you are comfortable sharing and with who. Consider your posts and their impact to yourself and others online, not just now but also in the future.