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General Security Practices

Securing your computer

The default settings of a new Windows computer may not be enough to make sure that your system is secure. Here are some things to check and do to make your system more secure.

Verify that your Firewall is turned on:

Turn on your firewall to prevent intruders from accessing your computer when you connect to the Internet. This can be accessed from your control panel's security settings. If your computer is in the domain at UMSL it should be on for you.

Make sure your antivirus software is current:

Many new computers come with anti-viral software, but double check that it is not a trial version you have to pay for later.  All Windows based campus systems should have Microsoft Defender on them. If not, it can be obtained by contacting the Technology Support Center.

Turn on Automatic Updates:

Make sure your operating system and software is configured to perform automatic updates, which checks for patches to fix known vulnerabilities. Keeping current ensures your security. This setting can be found in your Control Panel.

Use a Strong password/passphrase:

Your computer is likely to contain sensitive information. E-mail, financial data, and even family photos are all files that you may not want to share with everyone on the Internet. Configure a password/passphrase for the system to help protect this information from prying eyes. We recommend a password of at least 8 characters including letters, numbers and symbols.

Top Ten Reasons Why People Don't Have Better Computer Security

    1. I don't have anything important on my computer.
    2. My computer is brand new. It came with all the security stuff on it.
    3. My IT department takes care of everything, so I don't have to worry about it.
    4. I'm positive my anti-virus program is working, and it will take care of the worst stuff.
    5. I have a hardware firewall; nobody can get into my computer.
    6. Anti-virus and anti-spyware programs slow my computer down too much.
    7. I only open attachments from people I know.
    8. I don't use the same password for all of my files.
    9. Who is going to break into MY computer? and
    10. I'm planning to install all the security stuff as soon as I get caught up on my work.