Security Tips

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.

  Password Safety 

  • 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.

  Sensitive Data 

  • 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.   

  Backup

  • 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.