security tips

security tips


You're only as strong as your weakest link

Logout for your security

The urgent necessity to log out of websites and apps depends mostly upon whether or not you are

• Connecting to the internet on a public network, such as a Wi-Fi connection at McDonald’s or the internet at the library, versus a private network, such as a home internet connection; you should always be cautious when accessing the internet through public internet connections.

• Accessing websites and apps that are associated with account management and/or payment methods. Examples include on-line banking, online bill paying, online shopping websites, or any site where you have registered an account and stored personal, sensitive information that you want kept secure. Always log out of your accounts and close the browser, especially when accessing these accounts in public. If you open a window in Incognito mode or Private Browsing, your log-in credentials will not be saved. Also, always be cautious of who’s looking over your shoulder when accessing the internet in public.

• Accessing the internet with a computer or device that only you use, versus one that others may use also. If you’re the only one who’s using the device, then logging out isn’t such an urgent concern. If you’re using your personal device in public, make certain to enable its locking feature.

Logging out is common sense, especially if you’ve accessed sensitive information.

Password Protection

A user logging into a service

Don't share your passwords and avoid writing them down.

  • Characteristics of good passwords:
    • A mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols
    • At least 8 characters in length
    • Don't include personal information (i.e. user name, names of family members, places, pets, birthdays, addresses, hobbies, etc.)
    • Easy to remember (so you don't have to write them down)
  • Passphrases combine all of the characteristics of a good password and more protection than a simple password.
  • Password protect all of your devices.
  • Use two-factor authentication 

Storage of Sensitive Information

A vault in the shape of a cloud

  • Delete sensitive information whenever you can.
  • Don't keep sensitive information and other important files on portable or mobile devices (unless they are properly protected).


  • Don't respond to email, Direct Messages (DMs), texts, phone calls, etc., asking you for your password. You should never disclose your password to anyone, even if they say they work for IT, or other organizations.
  • Malicious links can infect your computer or take you to web pages designed to steal your information. Only click on links from trusted sources.
  • Malicious attachments can infect your computer. Don't open unsolicited or unexpected attachments. If you can't verify an attachment is legitimate, delete it without opening it.
  • Don't give private information to anyone you don't know or who doesn't have a legitimate need for it.

Protecting Information on the Web

  • Only use trusted, secure web pages when entering personal or sensitive information online. Don't log in to web sites or online applications unless the login page is secure.
    •  Look for https (not http) in the URL to indicate that there is a secure connection.
  • Be especially careful about what you do over wireless. Information and passwords sent via standard, unencrypted wireless are especially easy for hackers to intercept (most public access wireless).
    • Check your wireless preferences/settings to make sure your devices aren’t set up to auto-connect to any wireless network they detect.
  • Don't send restricted data via email, text, or instant message (IM). These are not generally secure methods of communication.
  • Be extremely careful with file sharing software. File sharing opens your computer to the risk of malicious files and attackers. If you share copyrighted files, you also risk serious legal consequences.

Protecting Your Computer: Updates & Security

  • Shut down or restart your computer at least weekly and whenever your programs tell you to in order to install updates. This helps to make sure software and security updates are properly installed.
  • Make sure you have Anti-Virus Protection on your computer (i.e. Avast, MacAfee, etc.).
    • It is always good to have additional protection on all of your devices (i.e. Malwarebytes, Spybot, Firewalls, etc.).
    • Run computer scans with your anti-virus on a regular basis.

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