Security Checklist

Internet Safety and Security is everyone's responsibility. Here are some tips to protect your computers, data, and personal information.

Create Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to system security. A strong password is:

  • Something other than a word found in the dictionary
  • Something other than the name of a person, character, or pet
  • Without personal information, such as birth dates and telephone numbers
  • Something unrelated to your institution or department name or other identifying information
  • At least eight characters (12 recommended) 
  • Passwords with capital and lowercase letters and numbers, as well as punctuation; for example: “AgbdF&04 are up to 1,000 times harder to crack than a weak password

Change Passwords

Over time, even strong passwords lose security.

  • The best practice is to change passwords regularly.
  • Password-changing frequencies are commonly monthly or quarterly.
  • Use password-creation techniques to create strong, yet easily remembered passwords.
  • Don’t write down passwords. The most easily cracked password system is a password written on a sticky note under the keyboard.

Log Off or Turn Off the Computer

When you leave your computer, make sure to lock it (Windows key + L) or log off. If you are leaving for an extended period (a weekend, for example), turn the computer off.

Back It Up

Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely. If you have a copy of your data and your device falls victim to ransomware or other cyber threats, you will be able to restore the data from a backup.

Every staff member at EGTSD is provided with unlimited storage on Google Drive, a powerful tool for collaboration among colleagues and students that can be accessed on any device.

When in Doubt, Throw It Out

Links in emails, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to compromise your information. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it's best to delete it or, if appropriate, mark it as junk. If you believe the email is legitimate, verify before you click. Hover your cursor over embedded links to see where they’ll lead you before clicking and do not open any attachments you are not expecting.

Also, do not respond to any email requests for your username, password or personal information. The GTPS Tech Team will never send you an email message requesting your username and password.

Gone Phishing? Ignore Unsolicited Emails

Spammers send emails that pretend to be from legitimate sources to trick you into providing your personal information. This practice is known as “phishing.” Never click on links in an email. Phishers can make fake email links that:

  • Browse to the legitimate Web site, but sneak in a pop-up window from a phisher’s Web site that asks for personal info.
  • Browse to a fake Web site that has a nearly identical look and address to the legitimate Web site.
  • Cover up the browser address window with an image that makes it appear to be a legitimate Web site.
  • Invisibly download a key-logging program that records and reports back every keystroke made on the computer, including entered passwords and credit card numbers.

Sharing is not Always Caring

Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it, and how it might affect you or others. Did you just fill out and post an "All About me Quiz on Social Media" you just shared potential passwords and potential answers to your security questions.

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