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Safe Computing Guidelines (ACTS)
We make every effort to create a safe computing environment for the University of Guelph-Humber community. We do everything we can to protect your private information, but there are many things you can do yourself to make your computing experience a safe one. These are just a few tips to help keep your computer and identity safe.
Use strong passwords and keep your private information private
Use a strong password and never share it with anyone. Keep your user ID and password safe and secure. They are your identity at the University. Change your password regularly.
Try to use different passwords for different systems. This will ensure that hackers and thieves can’t compromise any of your other accounts if one of your passwords is compromised.
Email use, phishing and other internet scams
Do not open suspicious emails or unexpected email attachments, as they may contain a computer virus. Be informed about hoaxes, internet scams or phishing attacks. Always check the actual target address before clicking a link. Be extra careful with regard to links received in messages. Often, these come in the form of a message from a supposedly trusted source asking for confidential information.
The University will never ask for your login information through email. If you receive a suspicious email, forward the message to the CCS Help Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check for recent scams and phishing attempts here.
Compute safely when using the University’s computers
Always log in using your own unique university user ID and password. Lock the workstation when you leave it, even for a minute. This prevents unauthorised access to any information associated with your account.
Save all important data on the network drive (H-drive) or in your Gryph Mail OneDrive folder. These are both backed up regularly so if you accidently delete your files, they can be restored with relative ease.
If you do store personal information on any external drive, remember to back up this data regularly as well. External drives, especially, USB flash drives, eventually fail, so keeping back-up copies of the data is a good idea. Also think about using encryption to further secure your data in case your drive is lost or you’re using a drive that encrypts automatically.
If you print something using a shared printer, pick up your printout immediately, especially if it contains confidential information. Dispose of confidential printouts and documents using a shredder or in a secured bin for paper shredding if you have access to one.
Secure your computer and mobile devices
Install a current antivirus program and regularly scan your computer for spyware and adware. Always keep your computer and devices (smart phone /tablet) operating systems up to date and secure by installing the latest software updates. Also make sure your devices have security passcodes to protect your personal information.
You can download McAfee (provided by the University of Guelph/Guelph-Humber) on your personal computer from the Guelph’s CCS Software Distribution site.
Backup your files
Backup your files on a regular basis. Keep the backup data separate from the computer, on a separate drive or on a network drive that is backed up regularly. The University of Guelph-Humber offers a variety of network backup solutions (eg: H-drive, I Drive and Microsoft OneDrive).
Be careful when disposing of your computers, smart phones or flash drives. These devices often contain personal information and should be destroyed either manually, by crushing the hard drives and/or overwriting or all data contained on the hard drive.
Use social media wisely and mindfully
Be cautious about how you use social networking sites and other sites on the Internet. Posting personal information to social networking sites (like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) makes it available in the public domain for all to see. This information cannot be permanently deleted from the Internet.
Also, be cautious about popup windows and advertisements. Malware spreads efficiently through social media and online services.
Don’t add location data to photos you post online. Disable your camera’s GPS functionality or remove the location stamp from photos before publishing.
Remember, social media has a risky side, with fake profiles sometimes being used to gather personal data and business information. Here are some top tips for safe social media use:
- Be cautious about whom you friend – never blindly trust friend requests from strangers
- Be careful what you post – be mindful that almost anything you post can be re-posted or archived
- Avoid discussing your ideological views unless you intend to work in the public domain
- Carefully manage your profile – include only the information you truly want others to know
- Be thoughtful and thorough with your security settings – what controls should you put in place to keep yourself safe?
- Think before posting pictures or video – are you sure you want your relatives or employer to see them?
- Only tag others if you’re certain they will be comfortable with it – are you sure they want to be tagged online?
- Don’t trust every link you come across, even when included in email – some will redirect you to infected sites and put you at risk of acquiring a virus
Secure remote computing
When you’re working off-site or on a personal computer or a public computer (including lab computers), use the University of Guelph’s Virtual Private Network (VPN). Connecting to VPN allows you to securely connect to the University’s network from anywhere with an Internet connection. This communication software ensures the security of the connection by encrypting all data sent between your computer and the University network while making your connection appear to be exactly the same as if you were connecting on campus.
The computer provided by the university is intended for your use only. Don’t lend it to anyone as you risk breaching private and University data.
More information can be found at the University of Guelph’s AnyConnect VPN User Guide Page including how to download and connect using the software.
How to stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks
Don’t assume public WiFi is secure. WiFi hotspots in coffee shops, libraries, airports, hotels, universities, and other public places are convenient, but often they’re not secure. If you connect to a WiFi network, and send information through websites or mobile apps, it might be accessed by someone else. Always try to use secure WiFi when possible (UGH-WiFi-Secure or eduroam network here at the University).
To protect your information when using wireless hotspots, browse websites that use an encrypted connection (the address starts with https://) or use a VPN connection. Also, avoid using mobile apps that require personal or financial information.