Your personal computer is an essential tool for completing coursework and vital to your success at Lehigh. The following nine topics offer guidelines on how to reduce your risk from viruses/malware, keep your computer physically secure, and protect it from catastrophic data loss.
Both Apple and Microsoft continually publish updates to their operating systems that improve weaknesses in
the security of Windows and Mac OS. They also both have auto-update features built in, so if you are prompted to
install updates, install them. Do not postpone them as they may be very important. To manually check for updates,
follow the instructions below. You must be connected to the Internet when checking for and downloading updates.
Both of these features allow you to both get the current updates and to set your computer to automatically check
for and download those updates in the background, which is a good choice for most users.
Many viruses and security threats today take advantage of vulnerabilities/flaws in common third-party applications/utilities
that almost everyone uses on their computers. These applications include:
As a result of these on-going threats, the companies that maintain these applications/utilities release frequent updates. It is imperative that you run ALL updates for these applications AS SOON AS PROMPTED. Many viruses
and other malware specifically target outdated versions of these applications. You can significantly reduce your computer's
risk of becoming infected ten-fold simply by always running updates when prompted.
Not having a passwords set on your computer is a lot like not keeping your front door locked. To keep your data and personal information secure on your computer and web accounts you should get into the habit of using unique/strong passwords. Follow the guidelines below to reduce your risk of having your personal information stolen.
Following the above guidelines will go a long way toward keeping your confidential information safe. To make
managing your multiple username and passwords easier you may want to consider using some type of password management
program/service such as: LastPass, RoboForm, or KeePass.
Viruses, spyware, and other malware continue to pose a threat to users of any computer/platform. Using your computer at Lehigh is no exception. Having a good, up-to-date antivirus program is essential to minimizing the risk of your computer becoming infected and/or having your data and other personal information vulnerable to related threats. LTS recommends several antivirus packages that are free for personal use. Whichever program you choose to install on your machine, it is crucial to keep it up-to-date and run updates whenever prompted to do so. Since new threats are released almost on a daily basis, the anti-virus programs recommended by LTS all have automatic update features which you should always take advantage of.
It is important to note, especially if you are using an anti-virus program that you paid for (or came with your computer as a free trial), that these programs typically only include update subscriptions for a set period of time (i.e. 1 year, 2 years, etc.). When this period runs out you will need to either renew the subscription or switch to another program.Back to Questions
Besides anti-virus software, another important thing you can do to keep harmful software off of your computer is to
make sure your firewall is enabled. A firewall is a networking feature that blocks portions of your network traffic so that
only network communications of the types you want are getting through it. The built-in firewalls for Windows and
Mac OS, work well, are already configured correctly for most users by default, and can simply be turned on or off.
See computer purchase and warranty recommendations for information on purchasing the appropriate warranty coverage.Back to Questions
Backing up the important data (documents, music, pictures, etc) is absolutely essential for every student. With most students using laptops, the chances of data loss from hard drive failures increases greatly. Having your important files backed up onto another source ensures that you will not lose everything in the event of a disk failure, stolen laptop or accidental deletion. The options below will give you some options as to how the average student can protect their data.
A good backup strategy includes elements of all of the above. The external hard drive is great for fast backups and restores,
the online backup service, while slow, will provide protection in the event you forget to backup to the external drive or if your
laptop and hard drive gets stolen or destroyed. Finally, storing your data on an online cloud storage service can be made much
safer by having your data also backed up to your external and/or online backup service.
Protecting your computer from loss or theft is something all students should be concerned with. Below are some options you may want to consider:
Whole disk encryption is something students may want to consider to protect the sensitive data on their computer. Disk
encryption is a technology which protects information by converting it into unreadable code that cannot be deciphered
easily by unauthorized people. If your computer is ever lost or stolen disk encryption ensures that the data on it will be
inaccessible to anyone but the owner. Below are several programs available that provide for whole disk encryption:
Things to consider before using encryption on your hard drive:
Individual students must decide for themselves if the data on their own computers is important enough that disk encryption
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