tidBiTS
Informs and engages the UNB community on IT developments and news

Acceptable Use What You Need to Know Part II

Author: ITS

Posted on Feb 3, 2012

Category: Tips and Tricks , General Interest

Last week Information Technology Services (ITS) began a four-part series reviewing UNB’s Acceptable Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) policy by describing how to use UNB’s IT services legally and ethically.

This week, let’s focus on the secure use of technology at UNB.

Using ICT Securely

Did you ever stop to wonder what all the security fuss is for? Why we all should use strong passwords, keep anti-virus software and security patches up to date, log out of services when we finish using them, and be careful of the information we send in emails, texts or instant messages?

It’s easy to identify the people around us that could gain physical access, legitimately or not, to our computers or devices – family, friends, coworkers and others. However, identifying those who can gain access to our information and computers remotely is another story; which is why using technology safely and securely is so important at UNB and at home.

By practicing secure computing, you limit the risk of an unauthorized individual accessing your files and confidential information or installing malicious software on your computer.  Two of the easiest things you can do to keep others from accessing your account or information is having and properly using a strong password and locking your computer when you walk away from your desk.

Strong Passwords:

Using Technology SecurelyChoosing a strong password lowers the chance of a security breach with your accounts, whether it is your UNB account, twitter or Facebook. Make your passwords complex but still memorable to you. Here are a few password strategies to help you choose a strong, secure password – Please do not use the exact passwords in these examples.

- You can replace letters with numbers or special characters
Ex: You received your mortgage from ScotiaBank in April 2005: password option - 04Sc0t!aB@nk05

- You can also use a phrase and turn it into a password
Ex: My Favorite Food is Chocolate Ice Cream: password option - MfFiCiC2012!

Lock Your Computer:

Another easy way to protect your virtual valuables is to lock your computer when you walk away from your desk. This prevents others from accessing your files and information without your knowledge. Follow the instructions below to lock your computer the next time you have run down the hall:

- Windows: hold down the Windows key plus L on your keyboard. When you do this, a login screen will appear. Just login to unlock your computer when you come back. All your programs will still be running and you can pick up where you left off.

- Mac: there are a few different options but one way is to create a lock icon in your menu bar using the Keychain Access application. Clicking on this lock icon will activate your screen saver and require you to enter your password in order to turn the screen saver off again. To create the lock icon, do the following:

  1. In your Applications/Utilities folder, open Keychain Access
  2. Go to Keychain Access: Preferences
  3. Click on the General tab
  4. Select the Show Status in Menu Bar option
  5. This will create a small lock icon in your menu bar. Click this icon and choose Lock Screen to start your screen saver.

Other Best Practices:

Choosing strong passwords and locking your computer are only two ways to lower the risk of someone accessing your account; here is a list of other security best practices:

  • Don’t share your password with anyone
  • Log out of IT services when you are finished using them
  • Don’t respond to emails asking for your username and password
  • Be careful of the type of information you send through email
  • Use UNB’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) for secure access when off campus

For more on these and other security tips, visit the Tips and Tricks section of this blog.

ITS provides faculty, staff and students with access to secure, high quality information and communication technologies. It is the responsibility of all users to ensure these services are used legally and ethically, securely, responsibly, and respectfully.  You can read the Acceptable Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) policy found on UNB’s Policy Repository site.

If you have any questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk.

Other 'Acceptable Use - What You Need to Know' articles in tidBiTS: