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October 2011 Computer Health & Safety Mobile Health & Security Computer Security & Identity Theft
Issue #1

We have various tips & tricks to keep your computer healthy, wealthy, & wise.

We have the best advice to keep your mobile phone secure and at its peak performance.

We have some advice to keep you and your computer safe and secure.

     

ITS Student Newsletter: Inaugural Edition!

Thanks for not deleting us immediately! We, the ITS Technology Ambassadors are here with a Student Edition of the Newsletter to give you the information that will help you in your life & computing! This month is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so our inaugural issue is devoted to cybersecurity issues. Check the video up to the right to get some cybersecurity advice, and an idea of who we are and what we do. 

 

Computer Health & Safety

Some kind of computer is a necessity at Hamilton, whether you own one or use one of the campus machines. Here is some advice to ensure that your machine stays safe and in tip-top shape.

       

 

A Healthy Mind, A Healthy Body, A Healthy Computer

Computer health is a lot like physical health; your computer should be fit, lean, and protected against viruses. It is up to you to keep your computer healthy. However, unlike your body, keeping your computer healthy is a much easier and faster process. Here are some tips to keep your computer healthy:

  1. Download an anti-virus program! Anti-Virus programs are like doctors on house call: they will come and scan you whenever. An anti-virus can be set to scan at various intervals, though we recommend once weekly. Hamilton College offers anti-virus programs for both Mac and PC. Here is a link to them: Hamilton Anti-Virus Support
  2. Keep your firewall on! Your firewall is like your immune system: it keeps you from getting viruses in the first place. On Windows machines, check the control panel to see if your firewall is on. On Mac machines, check in the system preferences.
  3. Update your OS regularly! Your computer’s OS is like the body as a whole: it’s what does everything for you. Updating your OS will give you improved performance, new features, and enhanced security. Many programs also require a newer OS. On Windows machines, check under Windows Update. On Mac Machines, check under Software update. You should ideally update weekly.
With these 3 tips, you can keep your computer in perfect shape. Of course, that won’t protect you against everything. You yourself must be on guard as well, and we’ll discuss that in detail in the next article.
 

BEWARE: How to Keep Your Computer and Yourselves Safe

Once your computer/laptop is updated and in perfect shape, it is important to physically take care of it.  NEVER LEAVE YOUR LAPTOP UNATTENDED!  Students like to believe that for those two minutes they leave their possessions unattended, no one will steal their laptop.  Do not think that because it was not stolen the first time, it will not be stolen the next time. 

Furthermore, make sure your passwords and other online data are secure from online hackers.  ITS cannot stress the importance of having a secure and complex password; the typical “lastname1” or “word1234” will not cut it!  Using a phrase, for example, allows you to easily remember the password while making it close to impossible for hackers to decode.

Finally, refrain from illegal downloads; the song you are downloading can be found legally on a variety of online sources!  It will not be worth listening to when you are fined a ridiculous amount of money for stealing, in addition to being expelled from Hamilton.  If you illegally download music, you WILL be caught!  (Try using Pandora, YouTube, Spotify, etc.) 

Mobile Health & Security
         

A Couple of Tips to Keep in Mind While Using Your Mobile Device…

The majority of students on our campus, if not all, own a mobile device.  Cell phones are an easy way to communicate with friends on campus, as well as, our friends & family at home. Specifically, smartphones allow us to keep up with our mail (thank you Hamilton) and give us a means of checking our Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks (thank you procrastination).  These cellular devices are becoming increasingly popular because they provide an easy way to access the web without logging onto a computer or laptop.  However, when using your mobile device, remember the following points:

  1. Mobile devices-which typically use Wi-Fi, depending on availability-are just as susceptible to security threats as laptops. -> Make sure the Wi-Fi network you are connected to is safe and avoid using insecure networks!
  2. When a mobile device is stolen, ALL of the information on your device (online service passwords, online banking accounts from apps, pictures, videos, etc.) becomes accessible to a complete stranger. -> Use a password on your mobile device and be careful with what type of apps you approve, in addition to the type of information you store on your device. Also, set up a remote delete program for your phone, so if it’s stolen, you can delete all the data from your phone at your computer.
  3. Many students now use social networks, such as Twitter or Facebook that allow them to include their exact location.  Knowing an individual’s location can be powerful information in the hands of stalkers, burglars, advertisers, and others. -> Refrain from providing your location and make sure to disable this feature within social networks that connect straight to your device.
  4. Sometimes your mobile device acts slower than normal, or tends to freeze up. -> To avoid this, update your mobile device frequently and reboot it at least once a week.
Computer Security & Identity Theft
       

 

Top Five Things Not to Do on Facebook!

Facebook is easily the greatest social media network of our time, and it offers unprecedented opportunities to connect with individuals around the world. However, if you aren’t careful, it could also mean the end of your privacy, with all your information irreversibly broadcasted to the world. With the new paradigm of less privacy on Facebook, employers have taken to using Facebook to decide on hiring decisions as well. With all of that in mind, here are the top five things NOT to do on Facebook.

  1. Do NOT accept every single friend request: if you keep yourself public on Facebook, anyone can friend you, even complete strangers. Be careful. Some of these people could attempt to take your data and use it for malicious purposes (mostly spam, and don’t we already get enough of that?
  2. Do NOT check into Places: Facebook’s new Places feature allows you to check in at wherever you go and share it with your friends. This actually can create a virtual trail that anyone can track, far stronger than any wiretapping. Criminals can also use this to rob your house/dorm while you are checked in somewhere else. Be sure to disable it in your privacy settings.
  3. Do NOT leave all of your info and wall posts open to everyone! On default settings, people can see lots of data that you would consider private, such as email and phone numbers. Do you really want complete strangers texting you at random? We know we wouldn’t. Be sure to use your settings to restrict what non-friends can see.
  4. Do NOT accept every photo tagged of you! You should be very judicious in creating a profile that looks as appealing to employers as it is accurate to friends. So leave those photos of you smashed at Bundy untagged. Future employers don’t need to know what you were like on a Friday night. Remember: what happens in Bundy stays in Bundy.
  5. Do NOT upload or share whatever comes to mind! Similar to the last point, you should be careful what you put on Facebook, because even if it’s deleted, someone else could have saved it. So think before you type! And this bears repeating: Your profile should be as appealing to employers as it is accurate to your friends.

To emphasize the importance of not file sharing, Weird Al Yankovich created a song & music video to demonstrate the dangers of Internet piracy, entitled “Don’t Download This Song.” We’ve embedded it below for you to watch. It may be tongue-in-cheek, and it may seem extreme, but these kinds of lawsuits have happened in the past. Whether they’re right or wrong, this is what the music industry has done, so do your best to avoid running into their lawyers!