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Security Best Practices

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Want to learn about computer security?

Securing your data is important to us! Below are some best practices to help provide you with a safe and secure experience online here at Western Carolina University.

According to recent statistics, between 200,000 and 300,000 new computer viruses are discovered daily, so having antivirus protection for your computer is important. Most computers today come with antivirus installed on them:

  • Windows Defender comes pre-installed on all windows 10 computers
  • XProtect is Apple's pre-installed antivirus solution

If you would prefer to use a different antivirus for your computer, here is an in-depth comparison  of the many antivirus solutions available to you as a consumer.

Phishing is the practice of attempting to gain personal information from clients using fake emails, phone calls, letters, and other methods. Clients may be asked to click on a link, provide personal information, or complete a questionable task for the individual.

How do you spot a phishing email?

  1. Verify the sender. Check the sender’s e-mail address to make sure it’s legitimate.
  2. Avoid opening links and attachments from unknown senders.
  3. Does the e-mail contain a vague greeting, spelling or grammatical errors, an urgent request, or an offer that seems impossibly good?

For more information on how to spot a Phishing Attempt, check out this article.

Loss of data can be crippling. For this reason, we recommend having a solution to regularly backup your data. Here are some options that we provide:

There are also several other free options available for personal devices. If you are interested in learning more, feel free to contact us. Don’t forget, save early and save often!

Here are some recommendations when setting up passwords for secure sites:d

  • Password Protect your Devices! If your device is lost or stolen, then having a password protects your data from being accessed.
  • Avoid using the same password for multiple sites. If someone steals your password, the first thing they’ll try to do is use it on all major websites. Your WCUid password should not be the same as any other passwords you use.
  • Change your password regularly! WCU requires passwords to be changed every 365 days.
  • Consider using a password management tool to house your passwords in a secure location and allow them to be changed regularly.
  • Do not give your password out to anyone! If someone knows your password, change it immediately.
  • Keep all your software up to date. Software developers are constantly providing fixes for the latest security threats to your system, and regularly updating your software is the best way to keep it secure.

  • Consider utilizing an adblocker to avoid pop-ups and targeted advertising. Most browsers have several free options available that also allow you to temporarily disable the adblocker for the purpose of receiving legitimate pop-ups on sites.

  • Multi-factor Authentication is a great way to add an extra layer of security online. WCU requires multi-factor authentication on all accounts.
  • Research Apps before downloading them. Many apps collect personal data and share them with third party companies. Delete apps that you no longer use.
  • Do not use illegal download/torrenting sites. Besides doing something illegal, these sites often infect your devices with viruses or other malware
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