Twelve (Easy) Steps Toward Secure Computing

  1. Never save your passwords to your computer when prompted.
  2. Set up your computer to require a username and password on start up.
  3. Password-protect your computer’s screen-saver with a time-out of five minutes or less.
  4. If you use file-sharing to provide remote access to files on your computer, you should set a password for each of your shared folders. If file-sharing is enabled but you do not use it, you should disable it.
  5. Use secure passwords – do not use common names; try to incorporate numbers and special characters as well as a combination of capital and lower-case letters.
  6. Do not attach lists of passwords to your computer. If you must record passwords, do not list usernames and passwords together.
  7. Run an approved antivirus program on your computer and keep virus signatures up to date.
  8. Avoid installing any software that monitors your activities. Periodically, scan your computer for spyware and disable any software that monitors your activities.
  9. Never open e-mail attachments if you have any reason to suspect the authenticity of the message (even if you know the sender).
  10. Keep your computer operating system and internet browser(s) updated.
  11. Do not display identity information like SSN, DU ID, or birthdate on any Web page. Refrain from sending this information in e-mail messages.
  12. Run a personal firewall at all times. Microsoft XP includes one. On other systems, you may need to install software.