Information Technology Services

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Computer & Password Security

Securing Your Computer*

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All computers need to be cared for. A well cared for computer is generally a secure computer. Caring for your computer includes:

  • Keeping your operating system and software up-to-date
  • Protecting your computer with anti-virus and anti-spyware software
  • Being skeptical and careful in what you do, such as opening attachments

General guidelines

The following steps will go a long way toward making your computer secure. If your computer is part of the Clarku domain, they are generally taken care of for you. If you computer is not a member of the domain, you probably need to do them yourself.

How do you know if your computer is part of the Clarku domain?

  1. If you are a student, your computer is NOT part of the Clarku domain.

  2. If you are faculty or staff, and your office computer was bought with university funds (not grant, gift or other outside funds) in the last three years, ITS has most likely configured your computer as part of the domain. If your computer is part of the domain, when you log on to your computer, you supply your credentials and choose Clarku from a Domain dropdown box.
  3. If you are faculty or staff, and your computer was bought with external funds (e.g, grant, gift), please check with your Academic Technology Coordinator or the Help Desk regarding whether your computer is or should be part of the Clarku domain.

  4. If you are faculty or staff, and you use a personally owned computer on campus, it is not in the Clarku domain.

Steps to take

Caretaker Roll

Computers in Clarku/Students Domain

Non-domain computers

Before connecting
BEFORE connecting to the network:

  • Apply operating system updates
  • Install anti-virus software
  • Change default passwords (such as the password for the administrator's account)
  • Use a firewall program
ITS takes these steps each time we add a computer to the domain. You need to take each of these steps.

Protect your system
Establish a security routine:

  • Use strong passwords
  • Automate your operating system updates
  • Automate your anti-virus updates
  • Regulary update your installed software
  • Regularly run an anti-spyware program
  • Regularly check to make sure your firewall is running
ITS sets these steps up each time we add a computer to the domain.

Your role is to check that these routines are running, leave your computer on so updates can be installed, reboot your computer regularly, and if you notice that these things aren't happening, let ITS know.
You need to take each of these steps.

Be prepared
Be ready for failures and infections.

  • Backup your files regularly
  • Be prepared to rebuild
    • Have installation CDs and software
    • OS updates to take time to download and install
  • In case of infection
    • Obtain the most recent anti-virus updates
    • Run your anti-virus program scan, reboot, scan again, and repeat as needed
    • You may have to rebuild your system
  • Plan for upgrading
    • Support is fading for Windows XP and Apple OS X 10.4
If you aren't sure how to back up your data contact ITS. If your computer is not behaving normally, let ITS know.

If your computer is infected or if it needs to be rebuilt, ITS will take care of that for you.
Take measures to ensure that you are prepared in case your machine is compromised.

Be skeptical
Don't be fooled into helping attackers

  • Do not open unexpected email attachments
  • Do not download unknown programs, such as free screensavers
  • Do not trade lots of unknown files, such as with peer-to-peer programs like Kazaa
  • Do not share your passwords with anyone
  • Do not believe amazing offers and unlikely stories
Educate yourself and minimize risks. If you aren't sure about something don't hesitate to ask ITS.

*Adapted from University of Washington�s Every Computer Needs Management (http://www.washington.edu/computing/security/management.html)