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What are the security risks when I use a computer online?

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Article SummaryThis article is a brief list of some risks you need to be aware of when using your computer.
This article is intended for all staff and students at all campuses.
Instructions

​You probably already know that there are risks to using computers, but you may not know all of them or what you can do to protect yourself. If you think your college account has been compromised, change your password, and contact ITS right away. (How to contact ITS)

Fake Folks - People pretending to be someone or something that they aren't through email, chat, facebook, and so on.

What can you do? - Verify the person's identity or do not deal with them.
 

Fake Sites - Web sites pretending to be something that they aren't.

What can you do? - Fake sites are often accessed by misleading links. It is possible for people to display one link while sending you to another. If you want to be sure you are going to the real site, search it through Google or type it in yourself (ie. www.microsoft.com).
 

Spyware - Computer programs that get installed on your computer unknowingly and cause problems.

What can you do? - Be cautious which software you install. Research it. Get a spyware protection program like Ad-Aware or Spybot Search & Destroy. Then keep it up-to-date and run scans regularly.
 

Spam - Internet junk mail.

What can you do? - Don't give your email address to websites if you don't have to.
 

Viruses - Computer programs that are annoying or destructive.

What can you do? - Do all of your operating system and program updates regularly. Don't click on everything in your inbox. Make sure you have a decent virus protection program like Microsoft Security Essentials or AVG Antivirus. Algonquin has disabled emailing of zipped files and also scans all servers in an attempt to keep things under control.
 

Loss of Data - Files can disappear or become corrupted. This can be very costly and lose you some marks at school or your job after you graduate.

What can you do? - Protect yourself by making backups.

  • Copy your N drive to your hard drives at home.
  • In the labs, never save to drive C since it is usually cleaned with every reboot.
  • Use a cloud storage solution like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Copy.
  • Make duplicates of any data you have on CDs.
  • Consider storing all data on your N drive.
  • Use USB keys to store data.
  • Email important files to yourself.
  • Create hard copies of documents.
     

Harassment - Even on the Web, there are nasty people.

What can you do? - If anyone is doing something you are uncomfortable with you should contact Algonquin Security or the local police. Do not respond to the person at all. Do not delete the conversations or emails--they can be used to track the offender.
 

Theft - It could be as simple as someone taking something of yours while you turn around in a lab or office.

What can you do? - Keep an eye on your property at all times. If you have a concern you should contact the Algonquin Security or the local police.
 

Account usage - People can harm you if they gain access to your account.

What can you do? - Log off when you are done or someone may use your account and printing paper. For the same reasons, never give anyone your username and password. Change your password regularly.

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