To best protect your computer and your data, follow these tips:
Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware & Internet Security
- Use good antivirus software and keep the program up-to-date. The University provides Trend Anti-Virus software to faculty, staff and students. See these Trend FAQs.
- Schedule full scans on a regular basis e.g. once a week.
Operating System and Application Patches
- Install operating system and application patches as soon as they are available
- Enable automatic installation of patches from the vendor site.
- Create strong passwords.
- Use a combination of upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
- The more characters you use, the stronger it will be.
- Do not use dictionary words.
- When changing your password make the new password unique; avoid reusing parts of the old password.
- Do not use the same password for all accounts.
- Never share your passwords.
- Do not store your passwords in plain text.
- Physically protect any written passwords.
- Do not login to an untrusted computer with your UNC Charlotte NinerNET account credentials.
Lock and Log Off
- Lock your computer when you walk away.
- Set the automatic lock to enable after a short period of time.
- Log off your computer and applications when planning to be away for a longer period of time.
- Shut the computer down when it is not in use to avoid being hacked.
Links and Attachments in Email Messages
- Do not click on links or open attachments in email messages received from known and unknown senders.
- Hover your mouse over the link to check if the visible URL is an alias for the actual URL.
- Copy and paste the URL into your web browser.
- Check with the sender before opening any unsolicited attachments.
- Do not assume that because an email is FROM: someone you know, that they sent it!
Phishing Email Messages
- Do not respond to email requests for your username, password or personal information. UNC Charlotte will never send you an email message requesting your NinerNET username and password.
- Do not provide your username, email address or password on any Internet site to which you linked from an email message.
- Use common sense – if it looks suspicious it is probably malicious.
- Do not store sensitive data that is unencrypted (social security number, passwords, credit card numbers or research data) on your computer or digital devices.
- Mobile devices and storage media are easily stolen and any sensitive data they hold can be used for criminal activities.
- Make sure sensitive data is encrypted in transit. There are many free useful encryption applications available on the Internet. It is best to choose AES encryption with a high bit number and key size.
- If you are not required to retain sensitive data, you should purge it from your computer.
Secure Your Web Browser
Applications and Services
- Delete any applications that you do not use since these are rarely patched and any existing vulnerabilities are susceptible to being exploited.
- Disable nonessential services running on your computer especially file sharing and print sharing.
- Perform regular backups of your computer data. Computer hardware is susceptible to physical failure, plus data can be deleted by mistake or maliciously by malware or an intruder.
- Perform a full system backup followed by regular incremental backups.
- Best practice is to also perform a backup before making any changes to your computer.