Information Security Office

Top 10 Tips for Safe Computing

Use strong passwords
Change passwords regularly
Keep passwords in safe place
Use anti-virus protection and enable automatic updates
Keep operating system & application software updated
Avoid downloading un-trusted software
Think before posting Information online
Be skeptical of unexpected email, including attachments.
Have a backup strategy
Erase & destroy sensitive data when no longer needed. 


1) Use strong passwords

Strong passwords strategies should be used for MyBGSU, financial, medical & e-commerce sites. These passwords should contain upper & lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. Sometimes a phrase from a movie, song or speech can be easier to remember.

Example: Four score and seven years ago: 4Scr&7ya

For more information see: Choosing a Secure Password.

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2) Change passwords regularly

It is important to change passwords at least every 90 days. Hackers can use various techniques to guess or collect password information. Changing passwords on a regular basis helps prevent unauthorized access to your accounts.

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3) Keep passwords in safe place

Avoid writing passwords on keyboards, monitors or other easy to find places. Keep them locked in a safe or in an encrypted file with verified limited access.

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4) Use anti-virus protection and enable automatic updates

BGSU has a site license for McAfee VirusScan (PC) and Virex (Macintosh) virus protection software. It is freely available to all current BGSU faculty, staff, and students for use on home or departmental computers. Installing this software and keeping it constantly updated provides a good layer of protection for computer systems.

For more information on the web, visit ITS Technology Support Center Virus Protection Self Help.

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5) Keep operating system & application software updated

Apply updates, patches, fixes & service packs when available. Updates patch vulnerabilities (weaknesses) in software & help keep intruders out. Enabling automatic updates is strongly recommended.

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6) Avoid downloading un-trusted software

Malware/spyware is a general term for unwanted software. Unfortunately malware may be present along with software downloaded  from from unknown sources. This includes files present on peer-to-peer networks.

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7) Think before posting Information online

Personal & social networking sites are fun but can contain large amounts of personal information. Unfortunately this information can be used to reset passwords and access unauthorized information by criminals. Limit posting personal information your friends already know. It is also important not to post any illegal, copyrighted or other materials that are prohibited by university policy. 

For more information see BGSU Information Technology Policies.

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8) Be skeptical of unexpected email, including attachments.

Avoid opening any unexpected email attachments or clicking on included links. Other email warning signs to watch for are vague wording, mispellings and quick response demands of personal information such as passwords, financial information or Social Security numbers. Do not use included phone numbers for contact. 

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9) Have a backup strategy

Back up critical files and have a plan if disaster strikes. This is one of the most cost effective ways to protect personal information and recover quickly when the unexpected happens.

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10) Erase & destroy sensitive data when no longer needed.

The Data Destruction & Recycling Service at BGSU can assist with secure erasure of hard drives, CD’s & DVDS, USB devices ,cellular phones and recycling of computer related hardware. For media with University data, It is important to follow document retention timelines designated by your office's Records Retention Schedule before destroying the data.

For more information, see the Records Retention Schedule section on the University Archives website. 

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Revised 11/23/10