Cyber Security Awareness 2011 Tip #2 Keep a Clean Machine

This is the second in a series of weekly tips on safe computing.  These tips are part of our annual participation in National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

This year we encourage everyone to Stop and Think before they Connect.  This week’s topic: Keep a Clean Machine.

There’s Good News and Bad News

First, the bad news: keeping your computer clean is not glamorous or exciting. Regular maintenance is something you have to do – just like flossing your teeth or eating your vegetables – if you want to avoid computer problems.

Now, the good news: it’s not too complicated.  A little tweaking of your configuration and a healthy dose of vigilance is all that you need to be successful. Here is a short list of essential to-do items so that you can keep a clean machine:

  • Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
  • Automate software updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.
  • Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
  • Plug & scan: “USBs” and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.*

Purdue Calumet Information Security has published guidelines to help you properly secure your personal device located at http://webs.purduecal.edu/security/files/END-USER-SECURITY-GUIDELINES.pdf

University owned computers are patched and updated by Information Services.

* Source: Wayne State University Computing and Information Technology