ETS: Data security - What are the best practices?

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SANS (online security training) FAQ

Important article on protecting yourself from ransomware attacks




1. Use strong passwords. Change your password regularly. Do not use your pet's name or children's names in passwords. Never share your password with ANYONE. ETS (or any IT department) will NEVER ask you for any password. A strong password includes upper-case letters, lower-case letters, and numeric digits. If a system allows punctuation marks in a password, use them! Unfortunately, not all systems allow punctuation marks.

2. If you receive a suspicious email, call the Call Center before opening it. Though we do have a spam firewall, there is no product that is 100% effective in identifying and quarantining infected email. Never open an attachment on an email that you were not expecting. Contact the sender to see if they actually sent it to you. Never open an .exe attachment.

 3. Be cautious with USB drives. The use of USB/flash/thumb drives has decreased with the advent of cloud storage, but most computers still come with a USB slot for flash drives. The handy USB drive you use to transfer data from one computer to another could be a big security risk. Devious cyber criminals and malware writers will use any opening to get their malicious spyware, adware, Trojan downloaders and other malware onto your computer. It is estimated that up to 66% of USB drives are infected, and because these drives are moved from computer to computer, the risk of using them is high. Security risks of USB drives include (a) viruses hitching a ride from computer to computer AND (b) loss of a drive containing sensitive/private information, which the district and its employees are responsible for protecting. If you find a drive, don't plug it in to see what is on it or who the owner is. Take it to the Campus Security Office as a lost and found item.

4. Keep your antivirus definitions up to date on both your personal computer and FHDA computer. ETS has installed Symantec Endpoint Protection on your FHDA computer, and it is set to regularly update your antivirus definitions and scan your computer. You can also run a Live Update of your virus definitions by locating the Liveupdate application, and choosing "Update Everything Now". Contact the Call Center if a virus is detected which is not automatically removed.

5. Be cautious when using wifi.The Foothill-De Anza wireless network is an unsecured unencrypted network. This means that an eavesdropper can see almost everything you are doing via wifi. The campus wireless services are not encrypted at the wireless level. It is, however, pretty safe to use online services over it, as long as they are encrypted at the BROWSER level – the URL will begin with https://..., and in many cases the browser will display a padlock icon somewhere on the screen to indicate that the privacy of this connection is protected.

Many laptops and mobile devices are capable of wirelessly sharing their Internet connection with others – do NOT share campus connections (wired or wireless)! Do not plug devices such as routers, switches, and hubs into the campus network.