Protect your PC Guide

Update & Patch Software

One of the most important steps in protecting your computer is regularly updating your software, in particular your Windows Operating System. Updating your system would include installing patches which are small applications supplied by the software developers that are intended to fix a bug in their products and prohibit hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities unpatched applications pose. Vendors typically provide patches at no cost to their customer on their website or you can be notified of new patches via email if you subscribe to a mailing list.
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Install Anti-Virus Software

Anti-virus software is vital in the protection of your computer from harmful viruses that can do real damage not only to your files and software but your hardware as well. There are a variety of anti-virus products on the market today such as McAfee which CCS offers at no cost to the U of G community.
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Update Definition Files

A definition file is file with a list of virus definitions. All viruses need to be added to this list so your anti-virus software can detect it when it scans your files. It's not enough to just have anti-virus software installed. Without regularly updating definition files, the anti-virus software is ineffective since it's not protecting your computer from new viruses.
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Enable Firewall Protection

Firewall can be a piece of software or hardware. Firewall software is used to determine what incoming traffic is allowed or needs to be blocked from your computer. In order for this to occur, your firewall has to look at every piece of information that tries to enter or leave your computer. If a site is trying to contact your computer and is not recognized by your firewall, it will be blocked. You can customize what sites you would like to have blocked, allowed or filtered. Versions of Windows XP have firewall capability and with the Service Pack 2 update, the firewall is automatically enabled for you.
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Install Anti-Spyware Software

Spyware is software that uses an internet connection in the background to gather certain information on users without their knowledge. Spyware is typically used for marketing and advertising purposes once users' web surfing habits and activities have been tracked and monitored. Installing anti-spyware software such as Ad-Aware (which is free to individual home users) helps to remove spyware.
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Backup your Files

As good practice, you should regularly back up important files and documents on your computer in case your hard drive ever crashes. The most common and convenient backup options would be to save a copy of your files to a 3.5" floppy disk, CD or zip drive. Alternatively, you can email yourself the file as an attachment so there is a copy on your mail server, as long as you use IMAP and maintain your quota. If you would like help on any of these options please contact the CCS Help Centre.
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Manage your Passwords

Some important points to keep in mind about your Central Login account and password:

  • Always Protect Your Login and Password!
  • The University will never ask for your password to be sent via email
  • Clicking unsolicited web links can contaminate your computer
  • Never enter your UofG password at a site you do not trust
  • Your University password should never be reused for other purposes

If you receive a suspicious email, please visit our Phishing Information web site to review recent scams and phishing attempts and report it to the CCS Help Centre.

It's also important for you to choose complex passwords that will help prevent hackers from accessing your accounts. When selecting your password, make sure the password is:

  • hard to guess by somebody else, but easy for you to remember so you don't have to write it down.
  • not a word that can be found in a dictionary.
  • between 10 and 30 characters long.
  • unique and not a reused password
  • a mix of characters, including members of at least three groups of: capital letters, lower case letters, numbers, and simple punctuation or special characters such as $ ( ) ! + - _ . = { } (Note that some characters are not allowed as they may be problematic for some applications: < > ' " ; , @ \ % & `)
  • changed regularly

Reminder - After changing your password, please ensure you update it on your mobile devices to continue receiving email and access the wireless network on those devices. You may also need to update your password for access to certain applications or resources such as CFS.

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Download & File Share Responsibly

Take caution when you download anything from a site you are not familiar with or when using a file sharing application such as Kazaa. You are at a risk for potentially downloading a virus or spyware. Make sure you are downloading from a trusted source and not infringing on any copyright laws.
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Reduce Spam Abuse

Spam abuse is another problem that comes with email but it's more of an annoyance and time waster than anything else. Spam refers to unsolicited junk mail that is sent to a large number of people to promote products or services.

Spam can be significantly reduced by using:

  • our spam filtering
  • our block/accept list to permanently block or accept specific email addresses
  • setting up custom mail filters on your favourite email client

In addition, CCS has blocked attachments with certain file extensions to reduce the chances of spreading viruses via email. However, spammers are always finding new ways to bypass filters so it is very likely that some spam will make its way to your inbox.
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Encrypt Sensitive Data

When you submit data through the internet it is viewable by anyone so it's very important to make sure sensitive data such as passwords and credit card information is encrypted before it is submitted over the internet. The encryption of data is basically converting readable data so it's unreadable.
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