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Welcome to Safe Computing Welcome to UCI’s Safe Computing presentation. This presentation is for all employees who use a computer on any UCI network. Computer security is everyone’s responsibility. Our goal is to make safe computing easier for everyone. 8 Steps to Secure Your Computer

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welcome to safe computing

Welcome to Safe Computing

Welcome to UCI’s Safe Computing presentation. This presentation is for all employees who use a computer on any UCI network.

Computer security is everyone’s responsibility. Our goal is to make safe computing easier for everyone.

8 steps to secure your computer
8 Steps to Secure Your Computer


  • Safely Install Your Computer’s Operating System
  • Keep Your Operating System Up To Date
  • Install and Update Anti-Virus Software
  • Use Strong Passwords

Strongly Recommended

  • Enable Firewall Protection
  • Install and Use Spyware Removal Tools
  • Back Up Important Files
  • Enable Screen Saver Passwords
1 safely installing windows on campus
1. Safely Installing Windows on Campus

If you use the Windows Operating System, there are some critical steps to take during installation. This is to prevent your computer from being attacked or infected as soon as it is on the network.

  • Disconnect the computer from the network.
  • Run the installation and skip the network setup.
  • Install and configure a personal firewall.

Web site with instructions:


2 update your operating system
2. Update your Operating System

Most security issues are related to vulnerabilities in the Operating System. As these flaws are discovered, software companies release patches and updates to protect you from security holes.

  • Recent versions of Windows and Macintosh computers have automatic software updates.
  • Configure your computer to automatically download the latest patches and updates.
  • Instructions to set up automatic updates are on the Safe ComputingWebsite.
3 install and update anti virus software
3. Install and Update Anti-virus Software

If your computer is connected to the Internet or you share files with anyone, you need anti-virus software.

How to Get Anti-virus software

  • On Campus
    • Faculty and staff can contact their local computer support.
  • Home Use
    • Purchase commercial anti-virus software.
    • Free Windows version for home use by Avast. (www.avast.com)

Keep the virus definitions up to date.

4 set strong passwords
4. Set Strong Passwords

The easiest way to break into your computer is a weak or blank password. If your computer is compromised it can be used to attack other computers on campus or around the world.

  • Set Your Computer Password - Do not leave it blank
  • Password Tips
    • Never share your password.
    • Never write your password down.
    • Change your password periodically.
  • Creating a Strong Password
    • Passwords should be 7 characters or longer. The longer the better.
    • Passwords should contain at least one alpha character (a-z).
    • Passwords should contain at least one non-alpha character.
    • Do not choose passwords that contain personal information, like pet’s or children’s names.
    • Do not choose a word that is in the dictionary. These are the easiest to crack.
    • Try using a pass phrase. For example, Hpatp0a = “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”.
5 personal firewall protection
5. Personal Firewall Protection

A firewall can protect your computer against hackers and other security attacks. The latest versions of Windows, Linux and the Macintosh operating systems have basic built in firewalls.

  • Enable Your Firewall Protection
    • Windows XP Service Pack 2, Macintosh OS X (v. 10.2 and later), and Linux have built in firewall software.
    • Instructions are available on the Safe Computing Web Site
  • Commercial Firewall Software
    • If you have an older Operating System or want a more robust firewall, consider purchasing a commercial version.
  • Free Firewall Software for Windows
    • ZoneAlarm Firewall for Windows is available for free for individual home use on your personal computer.
    • http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/catalog/products/sku_list_za.jsp?lid=nav_za
6 spyware and how to avoid it
6. Spyware and How to Avoid It.

Spyware is software that is downloaded and installed onto your computer, often without your knowledge. Spyware monitors and shares your information while you browse the Internet.

  • Spyware is often installed by you without yourknowledge by piggybacking on other software or by tricking you into installing it.
  • Some anti-virus software also has anti-spyware capability.
  • Anti-spyware Recommendations for Windows
    • Adaware (http://www.lavasoftusa.com/default.shtml.en)
    • Spybot Search and Destroy (http://www.safer-networking.org/en/home/index.html)
  • Spyware is not a major problem for the Mac OS yet. There are a few software companies that are starting to address the issue.
    • MacScan (http://macscan.securemac.com/)
    • NetBarrier X4 Firewall includes Spyware protection (http://www.intego.com/netbarrier/)
7 back up important files
7. Back Up Important Files

Since no system is completely secure, you should regularly back up important files. This is also your best defense against losing files to viruses, software or hardware failure, or the loss or theft of your computer.

  • How Should I Back Up My Files?
    • Backup Software: Talk to your local computer support. There may be a backup system in place.
    • Back up to WebFiles: Faculty and staff have 1 GB of disk space on WebFiles. It is professionally maintained and backed up each night.
    • Back up to CD or DVD Writers: Most computers have a built in CD or DVD writer. Burning discs is easy and inexpensive.
  • More Back Up information is available on the Safe Computing Website.
8 set a screen saver password
8. Set a Screen Saver Password

When you are away from your computer, lock the screen or set a screen saver password. This will prevent someone from using your computer when you are away from your desk.

  • Windows XP and Vista allow you to set a screen saver password. This will lock your screen when you are away, requiring you to enter your system password to access the computer.
  • Macintosh OS X and Linux also have screen saver password capability.
  • See the Safe Computing Website for instructions.
email safety tips
Email Safety Tips
  • Do not open unexpected attachments.
  • Use Spam Filters
  • Beware of Spoof Emails or Phishing.
  • Don’t send sensitive data in email.
  • Avoid clicking on links in the body of an email message.While these links may not be a phishing attempt, they may not go to the site you intend. Unless you are completely comfortable that the email is legitimate, it is best to copy and paste the link or type it in directly in your browser.
5 tips to manage email attachments
5 Tips to Manage Email Attachments

Most common email viruses are spread through email attachments. Attachments are files that are sent along with the message. If an attachment has a virus it is usually spread when you double-click or open the file. You can minimize the risk of getting a virus from an attachment by following a few few simple rules.

  • Do not open an attachment unless you are expecting it AND you know who it is from.
  • If you receive an attachment from someone you don’t know, delete it immediately without opening it.
  • Use anti-virus software and keep it updated.
  • If you need to send an attachment, contact the recipient and let him know you are sending it.
  • Use spam filters to block unsolicited email. Many viruses are sent as spam.
managing spam email
Managing Spam Email

Spam is often more of an annoyance than a security risk. However many email viruses are sent as spam and can be caught by spam filters. If you use NACS MailBox Services, you can use a simple Web tool to set up spam filters.

Setting up spam filters on NACS MailBox Services.

  • Go to My Email Options at www.nacs.uci.edu/email/options and login with your UCInetID and password.
  • Click on the Spam Filtering tab.
  • Select the type of filtering you prefer, default or strict. Click the Submit button.
  • Click the Logout tab.

If you receive your email from another server on campus, you may have spam filtering as well. Check with your local computer support.

spoof email phishing
Spoof Email (Phishing)

Phishing emails are an attempt by thieves to lure you into divulging personal and financial information, for their profit. They pretend to be from well-known legitimate businesses, and increasingly look as if they actually are. They use clever techniques to induce a sense of urgency on your part so that you don't stop to think about whether they are legitimate or not. You can learn to know what to look for and where to report these scams when you find them.

6 Ways to Recognize Phishing

  • Generic GreetingFor example, “Dear Customer”.
  • Sense of urgency.May include an urgent warning requiring immediate action.
  • Account status threat.May include a warning that your account will be terminated unless you reply.
  • Forged email address.The sender’s email address may be forged, even if it looks legitimate.
  • Forged links to Web sites.There is often a link to a Website to “fix” the problem. These are usually forged.
  • Requests for personal information.Asking for login and password info, either in email or via the link.
don t send sensitive data in email
Don’t Send Sensitive Data in Email

Although it's convenient to send colleagues sensitive datain email, it is unsafe. Not only is email an insecure way of sending information, you've lost control over that information once you hit the send button.

The Risks of Sending Sensitive Data in Email

  • Sending email is insecure.
  • You are storing sensitive data on your computer.
  • You no longer control the sensitive data.
  • The sensitive data may be sent to others without your knowledge.

Alternatives to Sending Sensitive Data in Email

  • Faculty, Staff, and Grad Students can use their WebFiles account. You can then share the information by using permissions or tickets.
instant message im safety tips
Instant Message (IM) Safety Tips

Virus infections are increasing by clicking on links in IM.

  • Only share your screen name with people you trust.
  • Only communicate with people in your contact or buddy list.
  • Never provide personal information in an IM conversation.
  • Never open pictures, download files or click on links sent via Instant Messages unless you are expecting it and you can verify who it is from.
  • Do not set your IM client to automatically login on a shared computer. This will allow others to communicate on your behalf.
mobile security
Mobile Security

Mobile computing offers the freedom of using your notebook computer or other mobile device in many remote locations. With this freedom also comes greater responsibility to keep the computer and information secure.

Physical Security

  • Lock your notebook computer in a safe location when not in use.
  • Buy and use a notebook security cable.

Wireless Precautions

WiFi networks are a shared network that makes it easier for others to eavesdrop on your communication.

  • Secure Web Browsing
    • Use secure, encrypted sessions.
  • Secure Internet Transactions
    • Use UCI’s VPN to encrypt your network traffic.
  • Always use a Personal Firewall when on an untrusted network (hotel, conference, etc.)
    • Set the firewall to deny ALL incoming connections.
  • Never store Sensitive Data on mobile devices unless absolutely necessary.
keeping your data safe
Keeping Your Data Safe

The information on your computer is often more valuable than the equipment itself. If sensitive data is lost, California law requires that consumers be notified.

What is Sensitive Data?

  • Sensitive data is personal information that is restricted by law or University policy.
  • It includes an individual’s first name or first initial and last name in combination with any of the following.
    • Social Security Number
    • Driver’s license or California ID number.
    • Financial account information, such as a credit card number.

Do you store sensitive data?

  • Only store sensitive data on your computer if absolutely necessary.
  • Report any sensitive data stored on your computer to your Electronic Security Coordinator.
  • Use encryption to secure sensitive data stored on your computer.
  • Remove the data as soon as you no longer need it.

More information can be found on the Safe Computing Website.

compromised sensitive data
Compromised Sensitive Data

What to do if sensitive data has been compromised.

  • If a breach of security is suspected on a computing system that contains or has network access to unencrypted protected data, the Data Custodian (system administrator) will immediately:
  • Contact the NACS Response Center at 824-2222 to report that a potential security breach has occurred and request immediate notification of the NACS security staff and the Security Breach Lead Campus Authorities. Send additional information via email to security@uci.edu with a copy to security-lca@uci.edu.
  • Remove the computing system from the campus network.
  • Conduct a local analysis of the breach to determine the number of individuals whose protected data may have been acquired.
  • Notify the Data Proprietor if there is a reasonable belief that protected data may have been acquired.

More information: http://www.policies.uci.edu/adm/procs/800/800-17.html

getting help
Getting Help

Symptoms of a compromised computer

  • When you try to use the UCI network, you get a message stating that your computer may be compromised and is blocked from the network.
  • Your anti-virus software has been disabled or is not updating.
  • Your hard drive light flashes continuously, even when you are not using it.
  • Your computer has slowed down noticeably during routine activities.
  • There is a user account that you did not create.

Local Support

  • School and Departmental Computing Help Desks
  • Computer Support Coordinators

Campus Computing Help Desks

  • Administrative Computing (AdCom)
  • Network & Academic Computing Support (NACS)

Commercial Solutions

  • UCI Computer Store