Protecting your computer is not only about viruses and internet hackers. Anyone with physical access to your computer, has access to everything on it.
There are three things to consider:
1. Computer Theft
2. Theft of backup data.
3. Physical access to a computer = full data access.
Computer theft is the second largest method of data compromises in 2005.
Protecting your office computer/workstation:
- Never leave yourself logged in when you are away from the office. If you are only going to be away from your computer for a short time, "lock" your workstation.
- Lock your office door and windows when you are away.
- Verify a person's identity and authority before you allow them access to your computer. For example, if someone walks into your office saying they work for Tech Support and they need to do something to your computer, ask for their ACU ID. If you are not 100% sure who they are, call the ACU Helpdesk(x4357).
- Protect your passwords
Do not write your password down, or at least do not write it in an easy to identify way. For example, a piece of paper in your pencil drawer that says: "BANNER, 022055555 sparky" , is pretty easy to figure out. Consider using a "Password Manager" application. There are several applications available (some free, some not) which allow you to store passwords and other sensitive data in an encrypted database. As long as you remember the ONE password you use for the Password Manager, you will be able to lookup various passwords when you need them. If you choose not to use a password manager, never store your password and the information describing the password together.
- Do not leave sensitive data available for snoops. Encrypt sensitive data. If you print sensitive data, keep the printouts in a secure/locked location.
- Shred files that you no longer need.
- Clean your computer before you retire it. Most data can be retrieved even after you have deleted it. If you are going to sell or trash an old computer, make sure you completely wipe data from the hard drive. There are free disk cleaning utilities available.
Protecting your Laptop
- Encrypt sensitive data!
- Never leave your laptop unattended unless it is LOCKED (physically) to a non-movable surface.
- Keep a close watch on your laptop when you're at the airport checkin/screening areas. Don't lose sight of it.
If you attend conferences, physically secure your computer laptop in your hotel room or in the conference room if you are going to be away from it. Do not leave it unattending in a conference area if you plan to be away for longer than 30 minutes (that means, take your laptop to lunch with you).
- Password protect your laptop.
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