Safe computing includes first and foremost keeping passwords secret. Do not give your Bowdoin password to anybody. If this is compromised, a person may use your computer or computer account for many things unknown to you including: sending spam, installing spyware, accessing sensitive data, etc. This can all happen within a matter of seconds from the time you gave somebody your password. While work is done to mitigate this damage, your computer may be unavailable to you.
Make a password that is not easy to guess. To learn moreabout characteristics of robust passwords and a method for remembering them, see Strong Passwords.
Understand that email and instant messaging are not secure forms of communication, and may not be from who you think. Many forms of internet fraud use these communication vehicles to launch their attacks. Be very leery of opening any attachment, even if it comes from someone you know. Never provide a password via e-mail.
Be careful downloading applications from the internet. This is another common way that internet fraud is launched. A program may run malicious software on your computer, using your computer to commit internet fraud or steal personal information.
Be careful where you click. Many internet sites are not what they seem to be. Learn How to Recognize Authentic Sites. If you are conducting business via the internet such as submitting credit card or financial account numbers, signing-on with passwords, and providing personal information, ensure the site is a secure one. Learn How to Recognize Secure Sites.
See these presentations on Security Awareness and Internet Safety given by Information Security for more information. For the most understanding, sign up for an IT training class regarding these topics offered periodically though out the year.
Bowdoin College computers are protected with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, frequent software updates, and secure virtual private networks with firewalls. The same should be done for your personal computer at home, and is required if you sign-on to the Bowdoin web-site to do work from home. Do not disable these protections. SOPHOS security software is available at no cost for students and employees of Bowdoin for home use: Sophos Agreement