UAlbany Offers Tips for
Back-to-School Computer Security
Contact: Michael Parker (518) 437-4980
ALBANY, N.Y. (August 13, 2004) - As students
move back into their dorm rooms, it's the computer
that gets hooked up before the television, the
stereo or the refrigerator. Priorities aside,
colleges face increasing threats to information
technology security. The University at Albany's
office of systems management & operations
and residential network (ResNet) offer several
common-sense methods for students to protect
their computers from hackers, viruses and worms
designed to devour hard drives.
- Turn off your computer
when not in use. The strongest protection
you can provide for your PC is to turn it
off when you’re not using it. Leaving your
computer on when you’re away is like leaving
your keys in your car with the engine running.
Remember, the way out is a way in. If you
have a pathway to the Internet, the Internet
has a pathway into your computer.
- Use anti-virus software.
The mail systems at UAlbany scan for viruses
before delivering mail. But there are many
other ways for viruses and worms to reach
your computer. When properly set up, anti-virus
software will automatically update its virus
database, providing you with the most current
protection against malicious code.
- Use complex passwords
on all system accounts. Windows systems
come with at least two standard accounts that
are universally known, the Administrator
account, and the Guest
account. If you do not have strong, complex
passwords set for these default accounts,
anyone can gain entry into your PC and all
its files, information, and applications.
What’s more, if they log in using the Administrator
(or Admin) account, they can write their own
files and applications to your disk, and delete
- Back up your computer
regularly. Murphy's Law, due diligence,
and acknowledging that anything that spins
at 7,000 rpm 24 hours a day, seven days a
week will break down- sooner or later.
- Don't open e-mail or
click internet links from unknown sources.
While UAlbany monitors mail attachments and
file extensions to weed out files that might
cause damage, code writers like rising to
the challenge. There are numerous ways for
mail to cause damage, especially if you view
richly formatted mail messages. Think about
setting up your mail client in read-only text
mode, and delete, before reading, any mail
sent to you by an unknown source.
For more information, visit UAlbany residential
network at http://resnet.albany.edu/security/SixSteps.html.
The University at Albany's broad mission of
excellence in undergraduate and graduate education,
research and public service engages 17,000 diverse
students in nine degree-granting schools and
colleges. For more information about this internationally
ranked institution, visit www.albany.edu.
For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts,