Tips & Tricks
As adversaries develop new techniques to try to steal your information, taking steps to thwart their attacks is paramount. Doing "everything" to be secure can be overwhelming. Our Top 10 tips are a good foundation for securing your devices and protecting your information from unauthorized access.
Tip 1: Assume you are a target
Tip 2: Keep software up to date
Installing software updates for your operating system and programs is critical. Always install the latest security updates for your devices:
- Turn on Automatic Updates for your operating system
- Use web browsers such as Chrome or Firefox that receive frequent, automatic security updates
- Make sure to keep browser plug-ins (Flash, Java, etc.) up-to-date
Tip 3: Learn to identify and avoid phishing scams
Tip 4: Practice good password management
Tip 5: Be careful what you click on
Avoid visiting unknown websites or downloading software from untrusted sources. These sites often host malware that will automatically install (often silently) and compromise your computer.
That software you just heard of from an online advertisement telling you to speed up your computer and that it has found infections but wants payment to act is likely fraudulent.
If attachments or links in the email are unexpected or suspicious for any reason, don't click on them.
Tip 6: Never leave devices unattended
The physical security of your devices is just as important as their technical security.
- If you need to leave your laptop, phone, or tablet for any length of time - lock it up so no one else can use it.
- If you keep protected data on a flash drive or external hard drive, make sure they are encrypted and locked up as well.
- For desktop computers, lock your screen or shut-down the system when not in use.
Tip 7: Safeguard sensitive information
Be aware of regulated, restricted, or confidential data that you come into contact with and its associated restrictions. Review Brandeis’ Written Information Security Policy to understand data protection level requirements. In general:
- Keep high-level personally identifiable data (e.g., SSNs, credit card information, student records, health information, etc.) off of your workstation, laptop, or mobile devices
- Securely remove sensitive data files from your system when they are no longer needed
- Always use encryption when storing or transmitting sensitive data
Tip 8: Use smartphones and tablets safely
Considering how much we rely on our mobile devices and how susceptible they are to attack, you'll want to make sure you are protected:
- Lock your device with a PIN or password - and never leave it unprotected in public.
- Only install apps from trusted sources (Apple AppStore, Google Play).
- Disable services you don’t need, like location services for certain applications or contact sharing.
- Keep the device's operating system up-to-date.
- Don't click on links or attachments from unsolicited emails or texts.
- Click on the sender’s name in emails to verify the sender’s address if the message is suspicious.
- Avoid transmitting or storing personal information on the device.
- Encrypt your devices. Consult your device's documentation for available options.
- Use Apple's Find my iPhone or the Android Device Manager tools to help prevent loss or theft.
Tip 9: Install and use antivirus software
Tip 10: Backup your data
- Support & Resources
- Accounts & Access
- Classrooms & Learning Spaces
- Digital Media
- Communication & Collaboration
- Computers & Devices
- Software & Business Systems
- Events & Resources
- Privacy 101
- Security Tools
- Staying Secure at Home
- Tips & Tricks
- Network Connectivity
- Servers & Infrastructure
- Event Technology
- IT Governance
- Data Governance
- About Us