Information Technology Services

Five Steps to Protect Your Data Now

By Dartmouth’s Chief Information Security Officer, Steve Nyman

CNN, Fox, the New York Times and other news outlets report major IT security incidents daily: State-run breaches originate in Russia, China, and even North Korea, while criminal gangs and cyber hacktivists scour the Internet at large.

Is the threat as bad as it seems?

The answer, unfortunately, is YES.

In this vulnerable environment, how can you protect your data?

Here’s a brief checklist:

  1. Make sure your computer is configured with active antivirus software and is set to auto update.  Contact your IT consultant via help@dartmouth.edu if you need assistance setting this up, or verifying it’s installed and running properly.
  2. NEVER click on suspicious links embedded within email or web pages, and do not download files or programs from websites you’re unfamiliar with.
  3. Be suspicious of “phishing” email that warns you of a full mailbox, impending account suspension, a need to change your password or security questions—and includes a link for you to click to provide this information.  Dartmouth will NEVER ask you for your current password or the text of security questions and answers.  If you receive what appears to be a legitimate Dartmouth email but are suspicious, contact help@dartmouth.edu to double check before clicking on links within that email.  Phishing email is becoming more common and phishers are quite good at producing deceptive messages.
  4. NEVER use your Dartmouth password outside of Dartmouth, especially if you are using your Dartmouth email address to log in to outside sites.  Recent hacks of large company databases (e.g. LinkedIN) have compromised some Dartmouth user login credentials (all those affected have been notified separately to change their passwords).
  5. ALWAYS protect your portable devices, such as smartphones and tablets, with a password or PIN and make sure encryption is enabled. For iOS devices, simply setting the password is sufficient.  For Android, you must check a box to enable encryption.  Contact help@dartmouth.edu for assistance with protecting portable devices.

See also:

October: National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Phishing: Don't Get Hooked

Guard Your Privacy While Offline or Traveling

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