Internet Safety Tips

    Computer overhead shotDean Halter, IT Risk Management Officer, UDit
    Doug Bishop, Director of Information Technology, Advancement Operations

    The Internet affords us wonderful opportunities, but there are bad guys lurking to take advantage of the unsuspecting. Here are some tips to make your computers and mobile devices (Android, Apple and Windows) more secure.

    Keep software up to date, including the operating system and any programs, utilities or apps you install. Tools like Secunia’s PSI and Qualys’ BrowserCheck really help.

    Create a separate administrator account on your computer with a unique password and remove administrator permissions from the account you use for your day-to-day work.

    Install, and regularly update, a good antivirus solution and schedule a weekly full scan. Microsoft’s free Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit is easy to install and can be used to supplement security against advanced attacks.

    Enable built-in features like Gatekeeper (Apple), User Account Control (Windows) and your computer’s firewall. Use passwords or PINs for your accounts and devices:

    • Use a separate password or a password manager like LastPass for each of your accounts or, at a minimum, for those accounts granting access to sensitive information.
    • Safely check your password strength.
    • Use multi-factor authentication if possible.
    • Enable screensaver passwords and idle timeouts to require the user to enter a password after a period of inactivity.
    • Don’t save passwords in your web browser for sites that access personal or financial information.

    Use encryption:

    • Enable encryption on your computers, tablets and smartphones if possible.
    • Purchase removable hard drives and flash drives that support password protection or hardware encryption.
    • Look for a green padlock in your browser’s location bar — indicating use of HTTPS— when logging in, viewing sensitive information or paying for something online.

    Be paranoid when it comes to opening email attachments, replying to emails with sensitive information and following links in emails.

    Review billing statements and credit reports carefully, available free at, and challenge suspicious activity against your credit.

    Back up important data somewhere other than your computer to protect yourself from system crashes and ransomware like Cryptowall.

    Physically secure your computer – do not leave it unattended. Periodically inspect your computer, keyboard and monitor for keyloggers masquerading as flash drives, cable adapters and the like.

    If you have questions about any of these tips or would like to discuss the topic further, don't hesitate to reach out to Dean and Doug at