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Durham University

Computing and Information Services

Security Checklist

1.Phishing and other Scams

Criminals and hackers continue to come up with schemes designed to compromise computers, steal personal or private information or passwords, or trick you out of money. Scams commonly use email, the internet, or the telephone. Social media sites, texts and your personal computer can also be used as phishing tools.

Don't get fooled! For information about protecting yourself from scams, see our "Phishing Page".

2.Protect your Passwords

Make sure others don’t have the chance to use your accounts for malicious purposes!

  • Don’t share your password with anyone. CIS will never ask you for your password. Neither should anyone else.

  • Always use complex passwords that can’t be easily guessed. See the "Password Policy" page for additional information and tips.

3.Enable automatic updates

Updates fix problems in your operating system (the basic program that runs your computer/device) software, and apps. Out-of-date and unpatched devices are especially vulnerable to viruses and hackers. To protect yourself:

  • Turn on automatic updates for your computer, antivirus, and all apps that you have.

  • Install updates when your programs tell you they are available.

  • Shut down or restart your computer once a week. This helps make sure software and security updates are properly installed to protect your computer and keep it running smoothly.

  • For mobile devices, remember to sync often so you get available updates. Always install updates when your carrier tells you they are available.

4.Be aware of your privacy

A good rule of thumb is to only post information you would be willing to put on a banner in a public place.

Assume that any information you enter online is public unless you are using a known, trusted, secure site. Social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), personal web pages, and blogs are great places for people to find personal information about you -- and once you post something, you can't take it back! For tips on protecting your privacy online, go to ....

5.Mobile devices

Phones and mobile devices need to be protected just like any other computer. Imagine that your phone or other mobile device was lost or stolen.

In addition to the device, what information did they get? Which of your accounts and credit cards can they use? Only store information you’re willing to lose. See for information about:

  • Protecting mobile devices

  • Prevention in case of theft or loss

  • What to do if you lost your device

6.Connect securely

Random wireless hotspots can steal your passwords and information. It is even possible to set up a hotspot that looks legitimate but lets people spy on everything you do while connected. To protect your privacy, use eduroam secure wireless where it’s available on campus and in other locations (it’s an international service). Use the campus virtual private network (VPN) when connecting to public wireless, like in a coffee shop.

7.Physical security matters too!

Whether you live in the dorms, an on-campus apartment, or off campus, be sure to keep your door locked to help prevent theft -- and don't rig your dorm room door to just push open. Lock your vehicle and keep valuables out of sight. Keep an eye on your backpack in public places. Although it is easy to feel safe on campus or living with other students, thefts happen and items go missing every week!

Getting help

If you have any questions, please contact the IT Service Desk.