Communication Services & Information Technology
University of California
Communication Services & Information Technology

Computer Security

Computer Security

The Internet is a dangerous place. Attacks can come to individual computers randomly as viruses, Trojans, or worms. There are also random and targeted attempts to mine data. It can be in the form of spyware or more deliberate attempts to gain access to databases or sensitive information. Furthermore, hackers are often simply after your computer as a stepping stone to launch more attacks against other computers, regardless of the information on your computer.

Even though you may feel that there is nothing of value on your computer, a security breach by a malicious virus, Trojan or worm can take significant human and monetary resources to remedy. It takes time and expertise to clean an infected computer and valuable data may be lost. A security breach of sensitive data can have legal ramifications, cause problems for our clientele, and hurt our credibility. Also, because our systems are interconnected a corrupted computer significantly increases the potential for successful attacks against other computers in the same office

The most important things you can do to protect your computer are:

OS Updates -- Set up your computer to automatically check for and install software patches that fix security flaws in the operating system. This is done through automatic updates for Windows and Macintosh computers. As much as possible any applications you have on your computer should be updated with security patches as well. Microsoft applications like Word and Excel can be updated automatically when the operating system is updated. Here's how:

Keep your Operating System and Software Secure

 

Turn on Your Computer's Firewall -- Make sure the built in firewall on your computer is turned on. For Windows computers you will find it in the Security Center Control Panel. On Macintosh computers you'll find it in System Preferences under Internet and Network, under Sharing.

Use anti-spyware software.  We also recommend you use anti-spyware software on your computer. For Windows computers you can download Windows Defender from the Microsoft website at:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=435BFCE7-DA2B-4A6A-AFA4-F7F14E605A0D&displaylang=en

Another anti-spyware programs is Ad-Aware by Lavasoft:

http://www.lavasoft.com/products/ad_aware_free.php

ANR Computer Security Project

Besides the things listed above that individual users can do, we have a program to provide security at a more fundamental level for ANR offices. It automatically does the items listed above plus much more. If your office is already a part of it, or if you want to become a part of it, you can find more information at:

ANR Computer Security Project


Webmaster Email: djkrause@ucanr.edu