DIR Produced a top ten Cyber Security Tips document in October in association with Cyber Security Awareness month. The list has been expanded to be a little more valuable for AgriLife customers.
OCTOBER IS CYBER SECURITY AWARENESS MONTH – OUR SHARED
In recognition of the 2009
National Cyber Security Awareness Month, this edition of Cyber Security Tips is
designed to provide you with the TOP 10+ Cyber Security Tips that you can – and
should – use to protect your computer system.
1. Think Before You Click
think before you click on links or images in an email, instant message, or on
web sites. Be cautious when you receive an attachment from unknown sources.
Even if you know and trust the sender of the email, instant message, web site,
or a friend’s social networking page, it is still prudent to use caution when
navigating pages and clicking on links or images.
2. Avoid Phishing Scams
is a form of identity theft in which the intent is to steal your personal data,
such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information. Do
not reply to emails that ask you to verify your information or to confirm
your user ID and password.
3. Use Hard-to-Guess Passwords
good password practices will help keep your personal information and identity
more secure. Passwords should have at least eight characters and include
uppercase and lowercase letters, numerals, and symbols. You should always use unique passwords for your
banking and work e-mail. It is not has
important to have ALL passwords be unique (such as the ones used on your
personal yahoo, google e-mail or some type of web forum), but any University
business or banking accounts should be unique.
4. Shop Safely Online
shopping online always know with whom you’re dealing. When submitting your
purchase information, look for the lock icon on your browser’s status
bar to ensure that your information is secure during transmission. Always
remember to pay by credit card and keep a paper trail. Make sure you only
provide credit card details on a website that has a lock (and look for the S in
the httpS://) in the address bar. This indicates the connection is encrypted.
5. Protect Your Identity
When visiting web sites, it’s
important to know what information is being collected, by whom, and how it will
be used. Web sites track visitors as they navigate through cyberspace;
therefore, data may be collected about you as a result of many of your online
activities. Please keep in mind most legitimate web sites include a privacy
statement. The privacy statement is usually located at the bottom of the home
page and details the type of personally identifiable information the site
collects about its visitors, how the information is used – including with whom
it may be shared – and how users can control the information that is gathered.
6. Dispose of Information
discarding your computer or portable storage devices, be absolutely certain
that the data contained on the device has been erased or wiped.
Read/writable media (including your hard drive) should be wiped using
Department of Defense (DOD) compliant software.
sure your operating system is patched monthly. The
Microsoft Windows operating system is generally patched at monthly intervals.
Make sure you apply these patches on the second Wednesday of each month.
sure your browser is patched with the most current version. One the
most common methods to compromise a workstation is by exploiting software
vulnerabilities that have been addressed in newer versions of web browsers.
This can be easily prevented by ensuring your browser is patched at regular
intervals. To ensure that takes place, make sure you check for new versions of
your browser at least monthly. This can generally be done by clicking on the
ABOUT and then selecting the check for updates.
sure your browser plug ins and other applications are also patched monthly. Some of
the most commonly installed applications (such as Flash, Java or Adobe Reader)
have also been recently identified as having vulnerabilities that are exploited
in an effort to install malicious software on computers. If properly
configured, these applications can automatically download the patch and install
it the next time the application is restarted. Make sure you are set to receive
these updates automatically and install them at the earliest possible time.
visiting websites that are not associated with AgriLife Extension or Research. Many
workstation compromises can succeed because they are implemented with a feature
associated with Scripts known as IFRAMES. IFRAMES are function of web page
design that allows content to be placed in various sections of the screen.
However, if someone does not maintain the web site comprehensively, malicious
IFRAME content can be placed there by individuals who are not the website administrator.
The best way to avoid this condition is to be very cautious about connecting to
non-AgriLife web sites. Another solution that prevents Iframes from being
displayed automatically is by implementing a plugin called .noscript in
the Firefox Browser. Noscript can be
added to Firefox from the noscript.net website. But it requires some
configuration to ensure the web site will load content correctly.
Back-Up Important Files Back-up your important files minimally on a
weekly basis. Don’t risk losing your important documents, images, or files
Protect Your Portable Devices Secure your portable devices to
protect both the device and the information contained on the device. Always
establish a password on all devices. If your device has Bluetooth functionality
and it is not used, ensure this setting is disabled. Some devices have
Bluetooth-enabled by default. If the Bluetooth functionality is used, change
the default password for connecting to a Bluetooth enabled device. Encrypt data
and data transmissions whenever possible.
13. Protect Your Children Online
and set guidelines and rules for computer use with your child. Post these rules
by the computer as a reminder. Familiarize yourself with your child’s online
activities and maintain a dialogue with your child about what applications he
Consider using parental control tools that are provided by some Internet
Service Providers and available for purchase as separate software packages.
Your Wireless Network Wireless networks are not as secure as the traditional wired networks,
but you can minimize the risk on your wireless network by enabling encryption,
changing the default password, changing the Service Set Identifier (SSID) name
– the name of your network – as well as turning off SSID broadcasting and using
the MAC filtering feature, which allows you to designate and restrict which
computers can connect to your wireless network.