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Internet Safety & Security for 2012

As a new year begins at the University of South Carolina, we want you to continue to practice good computer and online safety. Your computer and mobile device are primary tools in your educational and social life. These devices are used for research, homework, social networking, financial activities and more. The Internet is an amazing tool, but must be used safely and securely.  The first step is STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

(Adapted from Stay Safe Online and the National Cyber Security Alliance)

Keep a Clean Machine.

  • Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
  • Automate software updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that's an available option.
  • Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices all need protection from viruses and malware.
  • Plug & scan: "USBs" and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.

Protect Your Personal Information.

  • Secure your accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.
  • Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.
  • Unique account, unique password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.
  • Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that's stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.
  • Own your online presence: When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It's ok to limit who you share information with.
  • Keep your eye on your technology: Never leave your laptop or other devices unattended, even for a few minutes.

Connect with Care.

  • When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it's best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.
  • Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
  • Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites 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.

Be Web Wise.

  • Stay current. 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.
  • Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.
  • Back it up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

Be a Good Online Citizen.

  • Safer for me more secure for all: 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.
  • Post only about others as you have them post about you.
  • Help the authorities fight cyber crime: Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to www.ic3.gov (Internet Crime Complaint Center), the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.onguardonline.gov/file-complaint.aspx (if it's fraud), and to your local law enforcement or state attorney general as appropriate.

STOP. Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.

THINK. Take a moment to be certain the path is clear ahead. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your safety, or your family's.

CONNECT. Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you've taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.

For more information, please visit http://www.staysafeonline.org/ or the UTS Security page at http://security.sc.edu.

UTS Public Relations

Posted: 01/17/12 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 05/02/12 @ 11:17 AM | Permalink

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