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GCC Information Security Office

Secure computing at GCC

Security Awareness

12 Basic Rules to Protect Yourself

1. Never leave your computer logged on unattended, even for a minute. Remember, you are responsible for any activity performed using your user id.

2. Always log off when you are done or are leaving your work area for an extended period of time.

3. Create an “uncrackable/unguessable” password. A non-word with one or more numbers inserted in the middle (not on the ends) is the best choice.  To make a memorable and secure password use the letters from a phrase/song, add digits, and use upper and lower case letter (I Love Paris In The Spring – ILp1TS4 – inserted number one for the I). Detailed information on creating secure passwords can be found here:

4. Do not give your password to anyone for any reason or type your password when someone is watching. Don’t write down your password, include it in automated scripts, store it on your hard drive/PDA, and don’t ask the system to remember your id and password.  Employees should never log on with their user id/password and let someone else use their access.

5. Never send confidential or personal information (e.g., password, credit card or account information, social security number, driver’s license number, etc.) through the network. E-mail, chat, instant messaging, Internet Relay Chat (IRC – Internet version of CB radio that lets people all over the world have real time conversations) and talk are all equally unsafe.

6. To protect your computer against viruses and other security exploits install and routinely run anti-virus software.  Update your anti-virus software regularly to ensure new virus signatures will be detected.

7. Update your operating system on a regular basis with the latest security patches, updates and drivers. This will ensure that your computer is up-to-date and will help prevent against viruses and other security breaches.

8. Never make or use illegal duplicates/copies of software, manuals, images, music, video, etc.

9. Dispose of personal or confidential information in a secure manner (e.g., shred, wipe, incinerate).

10. Make sure your data and applications are properly backed up.  Store backups in a location away form the original source of the data (e.g., hard drive).

11. Make sure you protect your computer with surge protectors, by not eating or drinking near it, and by keeping your work area clean.

12. Maintain the confidentiality of all data, keeping in mind the privacy of all individuals.

You are the first defense stronghold in the fight to keep your computer free of spam, spyware and viruses. Downloading software or opening an email attachment can infect your computer with spyware or a computer virus. Be aware that spyware programs may “piggy back” on “free” computer downloads and that email attachments may not be what they seem to be.

GCC allows free and open communication that is essential for educational and collaboration. GCC IT does not monitor or track Internet activity. Please browse cautiously! A link may lead to interesting information or to download software without your knowledge.

Use the online resources below to find out more about computer security.

Web Site Name Web Site Address
CERT Coordination Center http://www.cert.org/
F-Secure http://www.f-secure.com/virus-info/
Macintosh Computer Security http://www.apple.com/support/security/
Microsoft Technet http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/default.mspx


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This page last updated on December 2, 2015.

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