Remember that you and only you are ultimately responsible for all usage of your computer and computing account. Safe computing has several facets as indicated below.
- Follow Laws Policies and Regulations
- Protect Your Computer
- Protect Your Unity Credentials
- Back Up Your Data
- Protect Your Personal Data
- Protect University Data
Follow Laws, Policies and Regulations
- IT Rules, Regulations and Procedures
Become familiar with and follow the policies, rules, and regulations for using computer resources at NC State.
- Peer-to-Peer File Sharing
Using P2P software to violate copyright law carries a number of possible university sanctions, including a conduct violation being placed on an employee’s or a student’s university record, which may be disclosed through future employment or educational application processes.
Follow the links on this page for information on many copyright issues.
- End User License Agreement (EULA)
Most software has one of these, and you must agree to it before you can install the software.
- Reg 08.00.03 – Data Management Procedures
This is the general governing document for handling sensitive university data.
Protect Your Computer
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.
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.
- Patches for applications
Immediately install patches for applications (e.g., Flash, Java, MS Office, all web browsers) as soon as they are available.
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 Firewall.
- 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 Data (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.
CAUTION: 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 engrave your Social Security number.
Protect Your Unity Credentials
- Unity credentials
- Choose a strong password.
- Don’t write your password down.
- NEVER share it. EVERY email request for your password is a scam. Don’t fall for 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 Portal.
- Enroll in Duo two-factor authentication
- Add an extra layer of protection to your account.
- For details, see Duo security.
- NOTE: Enrollment in Duo is required for all NC State students, faculty and staff.
- Log out
Before you leave a computer unattended, especially in a computer lab, be sure to log out.
Back Up 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 NCSU Drive space.
- Google backs up what you store on Google Workspace Drive.
- For help in selecting the best backup strategies for your data, see Backups.
Protect Your Personal Data
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 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.
- Two-factor authentication
Set up two-factor authentication on your banking, email and other personal accounts.
- Social networking
- Don’t put any pictures or messages online (e.g., FaceBook, Twitter) that you wouldn’t want published in the news media.
- For more information, see Social Networking.
- Hard drive erasure
Before you discard your computer, erase your hard drive with special software. See
Protect University Data
- Managing sensitive university data
Protection of university data has become increasingly important and is the responsibility of all individuals who use or share it.
Reg 08.00.03 – Data Management Procedures is the general governing document.
For additional guidance, see the following pages and the related links they contain:
- Disposing of media that contain sensitive university data
These include computer hard drives, tapes, CDs, DVDs, floppy drives, USB flash drives, and hand-held devices (e.g., BlackBerrys).
- Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA)
NC State University provides two-factor authentication to the most vital campus resources. This service are mandatory for university students, faculty and staff.
For details, see Duo Security.