Safe Computing Habits

Considering how much of our lives depend on the Internet, it’s vital that we not only understand the potential security threats that we may face every time we go online, but also know how to effectively protect ourselves from them. Practicing safe computing habits is very important.


Protect Yourself from Spyware, Phishing, and Viruses

Spyware, phishing, and viruses are the big three online threats. Learn how they work and how to protect yourself.

Spyware      Phishing    Viruses

Lock Your Computer

Anytime you step away from your computer, lock the screen by holding down "Windows Logo" + "L". Your password will have to be re-entered before anyone can gain access to your computer.

Use Secure Passwords

You should change your UWF password at least once a semester. You can change your password from My Account in MyUWF (my.uwf.edu). When selecting a new password, choose one that cannot easily be obtained using common password guessing techniques. Follow the guidelines below:

Use the "pass-phrase" method to create a memorable but unusual password. In the "pass-phrase" method, you take a common phrase and convert it to an acronym. For example, "I drive 24 miles to work in my car!" becomes "Id24mtwimc!".

Be creative; try not to use real words, names, or information about yourself that could be easily obtained (such as birthdates or address).

Avoid using passwords that are identical or substantially similar to passwords you have used before.

Try to use a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols.

Most importantly, keep your password secure. Don't leave your password in a location where it could be seen by others. Don't share your password. Don't allow Windows or any other software to "remember" your password.

Back Up Your Files

Creating backups, or copies, of your files will allow you to restore your data in case the original is compromised by a virus or other computer problem. Your UWF H: and I: drives are backed up regularly, making them a great place to store your work. You can access backups taken up to three weeks ago.

Alternatives to your H: and I: drives are portable USB or flash drives. All current computers have at least 1 USB port for use. For increased security, you should store these backups in a different location than your computer. When using this method, you should create a schedule and perform a backup of important documents at least once a week.

Use Caution When Installing Hardware & Software

Hardware and software can introduce malicious programs to your computer. Only install hardware and software from a trusted source. If in doubt, contact the ITS Help Desk for advice. UWF faculty and staff should only install software approved by Information Technology Services. No personally owned hardware or software should ever be installed on University-owned computers.

Update Software

Software vendors release periodic updates that contain patches, fixes, and improvements for their programs. These updates help protect your computer against viruses and intruders. To make sure that your copy of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office remains current, the ITS Help Desk recommends using Windows Updates.

Using Windows Updates in Windows 7

If you use a Windows 7 machine, Windows Updates is already installed on your machine. You can access it by clicking the  button and typing "update" in the search box. Please refer to the Microsoft site regarding Windows Updates on Windows 7.

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