Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 3 – Protecting your personal computer
Users who connect to the BCIT network using a personal computer are responsible for ensuring their computer does not negatively affect the BCIT network.
Viruses on a personal computer could negatively affect both the user's system and the network performance at BCIT. Compromised machines can also infect other computers on the network. See the Responsible Use of Information Techology policy for more details.
Regardless if you are at BCIT or at home, you must take steps before connecting to clean up and protect your operating system.
5 steps to protect your personal computer
Update your operating system
- By updating your operating system, known security vulnerabilities that may be exploited to harm your computer are patched.
- Most modern operating systems (such as Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X) include built-in features that help you download and install updates.
Keep your firewall turned on
- When configured properly, a "firewall" is a software application that implements an extra layer of protection for your computer; preventing potentially harmful network data from infiltrating your system.
- Useful articles published by Microsoft include:
Update your anti-virus software
- Anti-virus software helps detect and eliminate malicious files (such as viruses) that have entered your system.
- Since the list of known viruses grows daily, it is important that your virus scan engine’s virus definitions are up-to-date.
- Spyware and other unwanted software can perform tasks on your computer, typically without your consent. This includes unwanted advertisements or collecting your personal information.
- There are numerous Anti-virus software packages available for purchase or free download, including:
Disable file sharing clients
- Peer-to-Peer file sharing clients such as uTorrent, BitTorrent, or LimeWire can be used to directly or indirectly proliferate unlicensed software, spyware, viruses, and other malicious files.
- The data traffic generated by these file sharing clients can cause harm to individual computers and severe slowdown in overall network performance.
- In accordance to BCIT's Policy 3501, IT Services forbids the use of such applications when a user's computer is connected to the BCIT network. Please disable or uninstall all peer-to-peer file sharing clients before accessing the BCIT network.
Avoid using untrusted browser extensions
- A browser extension is a plugin that you can add to a web browser. It will add functionality or a service directly into your browser
- It is important to only install extensions that you trust and are verified to be secure. Here are some tips:
- Do not install too many extensions. This can slow down performance, and create more avenues for malicious attacks.
- Only install extensions from official app stores. Malicious extensions can still make it into app stores, so be careful!
- Look at what permissions the extension is requiring. Do the permissions match the functionality of the extension?
How to protect and update your BCIT computer
ITS manages security and updates on computers owned by BCIT.
What will happen if I do nothing?
The network is monitored constantly. If IT Services determines that your system is the source of a problem, you will be denied access to the network until your system has been cleaned up.
BCIT is committed to taking appropriate measures to preserve the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and information technology (IT). All users at BCIT are responsible for:
- Taking appropriate measures to prevent loss, damage, abuse, or unauthorized access to information assets under their control
- Promptly reporting all acts that may constitute real or suspected breaches of security including, but not limited to, unauthorized access, theft, system or network intrusions, willful damage, and fraud.
- Looking after any physical device (tools, computers, vehicles, etc.) and access articles (keys, ID cards, system IDs, passwords, etc.) assigned to them for the purposes of performing their job duties, taking courses, conducting research, or otherwise participating within the Institute.
- Respecting the classification of information as established by the information owner