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Computer Security Information

Electronic attacks are performed on networks around the world on a daily basis, creating a high risk that your computer will be broken into if you do not take specific precautions. Please take the following steps to protect your computer and those of others who use LFCC computer resources.

  1. Set and Administrative Password
  2. Download and Install all Critical Security Patches
  3. Install and Run Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Software
  4. Use a Personal Firewall
  5. Restrict Sharing
  6. Do Not Open or Reply to Suspicious E-Mails
  7. Create Backup Copies of Your Important Files
  8. Turn Off Your Computer When You're Not Using It
  9. Review Technology Services IT Policies

1. Set an Administrator Password

The first, and probably most important, precaution you can take is to set an Administrator password on your computer. If you don't, your computer may be vulnerable to multiple worms and viruses that can exploit this single vulnerability. 

Windows Instructions

If you are using a Windows 7 or XP computer, set an administrator password, and reset it at least once every 90 days:

Windows XP Windows 7
  • Open the Control Panel and click "User Accounts"
  • Click "Change an Account", then select an account to change.
  • Click "Change the password" (or "Create a password", if you have not previously set one).
  • Enter a secure password when prompted.*
  • Repeat these steps for each account (including "guest").
  • To change your network password, simply perform a Ctrl-ALT-Del key combination and then select Change Password.
  • To change a local account password: Open the Control Panel and click "User Accounts".
  • Click on Manage Your Crendials
  • Select a user from the list, then click "Reset Password".
  • Enter a secure password when prompted.*
  • Repeat these steps for each user.

2. Download and Install All Security Updates

To download security updates, establish an Internet connection and follow the instructions for your computer's operating system below.

Windows Instructions 

Go to the Start menu in the lower left corner of your screen, and choose Windows Update. If Windows Update is not included in this list, click All Programs and select Windows Update, or, in Internet Explorer, select Tools then Windows Update.  

  • Click the Express link. Your computer will be scanned for any and all updates that are currently not yet installed. This may take a few minutes.
  • Click the "Install Updates" link that appears once the scan is complete. If it is grayed out and not selectable, then you do not need any new system updates.
  • Configure your computer to check for updates automatically. To do so, follow the instructions on the How to Enable Automatic Updates page of this website.

3. Install and Run Anti-Virus & Anti-Spyware Software

Another key layer of protection for your computer is anti-virus and anti-spyware software. You can download Symantec Anti-Virus (for Windows and Mac) and Lavasoft Ad-Aware (for Windows) from the Technology Services Software Download page .  When the download is complete, an installer (or a folder containing an installer) will appear on your computer's desktop. Launch the installer and follow the instructions. Once you have installed the software, be sure to update the virus definitions immediately, then run a full system scan.

Be sure to keep your software up to date by checking for new definitions every day (the programs can be set to do this automatically). Anti-virus programs use these definitions to recognize new viruses, worms and spyware, so your software is only effective if it is up to date.

4. Use a Personal Firewall

A personal firewall is a software program that creates a protective barrier between your computer and the Internet. It blocks unauthorized or potentially dangerous communications from reaching your computer. A firewall also ensures that unauthorized people can't access your computer when you're connected to the Internet.

Most operating systems already come with a built-in firewall, such as Windows XP, Vista, and Mac OS X. To learn how to activate and configure the built-in firewall, click on the link for Setting-up your Personal Firewall.

5. Restrict Sharing

Your computer may be set up to allow other computers on the Internet to access your computer in order to "share files". Unfortunately, this type of sharing capability can potentially be used by others to infect your computer with a virus or to look at your personal files.

If you do share files, don't set your computer up to act as a server, and be sure to respect copyright laws.  To disable file sharing, follow these steps for your Windows based system: 

  1. Click Start, then Control Panel.
  2. Within the Control Panel, click Windows Firewall.
  3. Within Windows Firewall, click the green ON button. Do not place a check by the option "Don't allow exceptions".
  4. Click OK.

6. Do Not Open or Reply-to Suspicious Emails

As a general rule, if you don't know the person who has sent you an e-mail, you should simply delete the entire message without opening it. If you do know the person sending you the email, but the message contains an unexpected attachment or web link, you should check with them before opening the file or clicking on the URL or attachment.  Remember that many computer viruses use fake "From:" addresses. It's easier to ask someone to resend a message to you than it is to clean a virus off of your computer!

In order to reduce the likelihood of receiving spam or phishing messages, try the following:

  • E-Mail 'Account Closure Warning' messages: If a message informs you of an impending 'account closure' or similar action unless you comply with its demands, it is often a sign that the message is a phishing scam. Do not comply with its requests.
  • E-Mail Spam: Forward all spam email messages as attachments to .  The college is able to block approximately 95 percent of in-bound spam e-mail. 
  • E-Mail Phishing Messages: Forward all phishing messages as attachments to .  Blocking phishing type messages are difficult at best.
  • Email client message filtering: Reduce the number of spam messages arriving into your inbox by setting up basic message filters on your local email client. 
  • View messages as plaintext only: Spam and phishing messages tend to contain HTML code intended to fool the recipient into believing the message is legitimate or to conceal the real destination of embedded URLs. Set your local email client to render emails as plaintext only to remove the HTML code and reduce the likelihood of clicking on a suspicious link.

7. Create Back-Up Copies of Your Important Files

Preserve your important files and the time it took you to create them by saving back up copies on a weekly basis. You can request network storage space or instructions from the Technology Services Department to backup your files.

8. Turn Off Your Computer When You're Not Using It

Turning off your computer when you don't need to use it lessens the chance that someone will be able to break into your computer and infect it with a virus or use it to harm someone else's computer.

9. Review Technology Services IT Policies

Access to the Internet and other computer related equipment and access is made available to the LFCC community as part of the educational computing and networking resources of the College. Such resources and use of LFCC's network are privileges and must be exercised in conformity with all applicable VCCS and LFCC policies, guidelines. and state laws. Failure to abide by these policies can result in suspension of network privileges and referral of the matter to the appropriate disciplinary process.

 

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