Safe computing at NC State

Safe computing has several facets -- following the rules, protecting your computer, and safeguarding both your computer account and your personal information. Remember that you and only you are ultimately responsible for all the usage of your computer and computing account.

Follow Laws, Policies and Regulations

Protect Your Computer

  • Antivirus
    As a student, faculty or staff member, you are required to have antivirus installed and kept up-to-date on any computer you use to access NC State's computing resources. You can download free software to guard against viruses and similar threats, including spyware.
  • Spam
    Gmail automatically provides antispam protection for email accounts. 
  • Operating system
    Make sure your system is set to download and apply all updates and patches automatically.
  • Applications
    Install patches for vulnerabilities in applications (e.g., MS Office, Internet Explorer) as soon as they are available.
  • Firewall
    This helps protect your computer from intrusion by hackers. Your operating system may have one built in, or you can download a free reputable one from the Internet. See also the Wikipedia entry for FirewallThis link will open in a new window.
  • Email security
    Never respond to any request for your Unity ID and password; all such requests are fraudulent. Beware of attachments and links inside messages. Also see Protect Your Personal information (below).
  • Infected downloads
    Beware of free or low-cost programs that may contain hidden electronic threats. Some of these can use your computer as a robot, forcing it to steal personal information from other computers. They slow down your processing and can also damage your files. Check the Internet carefully for information on a particular program before you install it.
    : Some software that claims to remove viruses and spyware will actually install them.
  • Instant Messaging
    Chats and other instant messages are vulnerable to viruses. Don't click on links inside them.
  • Physical security
    To deter snooping , use a screen lock. To deter theft, engrave identifying information on the machine itself.  
    CAUTION: Do NOT use your Social Security number.

Protect Your Computing Credentials

  • Your Unity ID
  • Your Unity Password
    • Choose a strong one.
    • Don't write it down.
    • Don't share it.
    • Don't let anyone watch you type it.
    • Change it often. You will need a current password in order to use certain services and resources through the MyPack PortalThis link will open in a new window.
  • Log out
    Before you leave a computer unattended, especially in a computer lab, be sure to log out of your account.

Protect Your Data

  • Back up your data on a separate hard drive in at least one other location.
  • NC State backs up the files you store in your AFS space and NCSU Drive space.  Google backs up what you store on Google Drive.

Protect Your Personal Information

  • Phishing
    Some phony email messages "fish" for your personal information and will try to tempt or scare you into providing it. Don't respond to them.
  • Vishing
    Vishing messages are like phishing ones but involve the use of voice communication instead of or in addition to email.
  • Identity theft
    Don't store sensitive information on your computer; e.g., Social Security number, passwords for online banking and other services.
  • Internet fraud
    Learn about the various schemes being perpetrated on the Internet and how to protect yourself from them.
  • Social networking
    Don't put any pictures or messages online (e.g., FaceBook, Myspace) that you wouldn't want published in a newspaper. For more information, see "Social Networking On and Beyond Campus" in the Fall 2009 issue of Computing@NC State.
  • Hard drive cleaning
    Before you discard your computer, erase the hard drive with special software. See Data Removal for details.
  • Disposal of media that contain sensitive university data
    This includes computer hard drives, tapes, CDs, DVDs, floppy drives, USB flash drives, and hand-held devices (e.g., BlackBerrys).
    (OIT Users Login | University-wide Login)