In these days of internet scams, you need to protect your computer and your identity. Here are some suggestions:
Your Harding username and password give you access to many IT resources at Harding. We encourage you to change it regularly at password.harding.edu. Harding has some guidelines about the password you choose.
You need to be aware of your more tangible assets, as well. Don't leave your personal belongings unattended. Your purse, wallet, phone, laptop, tablet, mail, etc., all contain personal information that can be exploited at your expense.
Don't send personal or financial information (social security number, credit card numbers) via email. Typically, email systems are not encrypted, meaning they aren't secure. It's a good habit to avoid sending any private information via email.
Don't send personal or financial information over unsecured websites. A website is (reasonably) secure if the url begins with https:// and if there is a locked padlock in the bottom right corner of the browser window. This means the data is encrypted when you send it until it reaches its destination.
You should also log out of your workstation's operating system when you leave, even for a few moments. Having a secure and hard to guess password is useless if a hacker can access your account because it is unattended.
Use a password-protected screen saver. You can choose the period of time lapse before your screen saver starts. Five minutes is a good choice.
Back up your data. If you have important files stored on your computer, copy them onto a removable disc, and store them in a safe place. M: Drive information is backed up nightly, so that is a good alternative as well.
Hackers rely on the fact that many computer users fail to install software patches on their machines and create worms and viruses to exploit unpatched systems. Most software vendors, including Microsoft and Apple, offer updates to correct program flaws that malicious programs use to attack your computer. Running anti-virus software is not enough. You can configure your computer to automatically seek out updates.
We all know the damage that computer viruses can do. Run good virus scanning software upon starting up your machine. Keep it updated.
Beware of fraudulent emails and web sites that masquerade as messages from familiar institutions. By tricking you into disclosing your Social Security Number, PIN number, a password, or an account number, identity thieves can drain your bank account or run up bills on your credit card.
The best ways to avoid becoming a victim are:
For more information on such scams, see the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Site.
Staff or Faculty: Disconnect your computer from the network, but do not unplug your machine. Contact the Help Desk at 501-279-4440 as soon as possible.
Students connected to the Campus Network: Disconnect your computer from the network, but do not unplug your machine. Contact the DormNet Help Desk at 501-279-4545.