Tips for safe computing

While SFU employs good security and technological safeguards, you can help protect your personal information. Reduce your risk of theft or misuse of your personal and financial information, follow these tips.

1. Protect your personal information.

Be aware of current online ploys that try to get you to provide personal and/or financial information. Do not respond to unsolicited emails or voice mail that asks for confidential information.

Important: SFU IT Services will never ask for passwords by email.

2. Make sure your computer is patched.

It is very important to update software “patches” for both application and operating systems in order to protect against software vulnerabilities.

3. Safeguard your passwords.

Never share your passwords. Use passwords that are difficult to guess, but easy for you to remember. Strong passwords should be at least 8 characters long, include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and non-alphanumeric symbols such as @, #, % etc. Remember to change your passwords frequently.

4. Use antivirus software.

Antivirus software can protect you from potentially damaging viruses that can enter your computer without your knowledge. You should always use up-to-date antivirus software and one that is capable of scanning files and email messages for viruses.

5. Use personal firewalls.

Firewalls create barriers between your computer and the rest of the Internet. They can help protect against malicious attacks and block certain types of data from entering your computer.

6. Use anti-spyware.

Anti-spyware will help to protect your computer against unwanted software from being installed on your computer without your knowledge. Anti-spyware also helps protect your computer against pop-up advertising and slow performance.

7. Use anti-spam software.

Spam is a growing source of computer viruses. Use up-to-date anti-spam software along with your antivirus software. If you receive spam, remember this: don’t try, don’t buy and don’t reply. Just delete it.

8. Use strong encryption.

The stronger the encryption your web browser uses, the more difficult it is for unauthorized individuals to intercept your online activities. Sensitive files, such as student and financial information should be encrypted at all times.

9. Log off or lock your computer’s screen when it’s not in use.

Make a habit of locking your computer screen when you leave your desk. Log off or lock your computer at the end of the day.

10. Remember to log off applications.

Always log off and close your browser. This will prevent others from being able to view your information.