Information Technology > Security > 5 Ways to Protect Yourself Online

5 Ways to Protect Yourself Online
Protecting yourself while being online is crucial to staying safe and avoiding malicious attacks. Check out our tips below to minimize your risk online.
1. Install and update anti-virus software

If you do not have antivirus, run a free online scan: http://www.f-secure.com/en/web/home_us/free-tools. This is not a substitute though; use a real antivirus! Licensing for Sophos is extended to all actively employed RMU faculty and staff for home use. Go here to download your copy www.rmu.edu/sophos. Rules of licensing agreement apply.

2. Update operating system and turn on firewalls

Ensure Automatic Updates and the Firewall are ON.

3. Don't share illegal files

Uploading and downloading music, movie, and software files that are copyright protected is illegal without proper licensing. Also, Peer 2 Peer networks used to trade music files are becoming the preferred method to spread viruses.

4. Use strong passwords

It is strongly suggested that you use the following guidelines:
  • Contain both upper and lower case characters (e.g., a-z, A-Z)
  • Have digits and punctuation characters as well as letters e.g., 0-9, !@#$%^&*()_+|~-=\`{}[]:";'<>?,./)
  • Are at least eight alphanumeric characters long
  • Are not words in any language, slang, dialect, jargon, etc.
  • Are not based on personal information, names of family, etc.
  • Passwords should never be written down or stored on-line. Try to create passwords that can be easily remembered.

  • Strong Password Example: TbM&htr1
5. Know the source

Whether you’re surfing the Internet, checking your email, responding to IM or file sharing– Don’t click on anything unless you asked someone to send it to you. Links, attachments, and files of any type can contain malicious code, and clicking on them gives permission for that code to execute. When in doubt, go directly to the known source. Never follow an email link to a banking, credit card, or merchant site. Always type the known address into your browser.