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Information Technology: Security

Maintaining a secure computer environment at Calvin is more than just protecting your computer from viruses, spyware, and hackers, it's also about protecting the sensitive college information to which you have access. While we work hard to make the network as secure as possible, inlcuding blocking websites known to be malicious, you must do your part. Listed below are a few simple things you can do to help keep our college network and college information secure.

More information about network security:

Calvin Security blocking known malicious Web sites

Calvin faculty, staff, and students have been barraged with e-mails asking for personal information including passwords, usernames, and other confidential information. Those that respond to these e-mails put Calvin information at risk.

In order to minimize the risk posed by malicious URLs, Calvin Information Security has begun blocking access to sites that are:

  • known phishing sites
  • known domains used for the purpose of installing malware or spyware

If you attempt to go to one of these sites you will be redirected to a page stating The Web page you attempted to access was blocked by Calvin Information Technology.

If you think the site you are trying to access is not malicious, please contact the HelpDesk (x6-8555).

Update your antivirus definitions
Antivirus software is your best defense against viruses, trojans and worms. Microsoft provides Security Essentials/Windows Defender for free. Faculty and staff have Endpoint Protection installed and updated automatically.

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Enable Windows Updates
Microsoft periodically distributes updates to its operating systems to fix known problems and vulnerabilities. Microsoft has two kinds of updates, a service pack and a hotfix. A Service Pack is usually a large update created to fix all major or minor problems up to the date of the service pack. A hotfix is a smaller or intermediate update that usually only addresses a single problem, and may occur as much as once a week.

By enabling Windows to update automatically, your computer will receive these updates as they become available.

  • CIT pushes updates to all faculty and staff computers.
  • Students need to set your Windows software to update automatically.

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Keep your computer free of spyware and adware
Spyware and adware are files that are installed on your computer without your knowledge. They allow companies to monitor your Internet browsing patterns, profile your shopping preferences, send you unlimited pop-up adds, and even install unwanted software on your computer. Some common indicators that your computer has spyware or adware installed on it:

  • Your homepage resets itself: When you open up your browser, you are taken to a different homepage than the one you specified.
  • Search results and links are distorted: When you click on a link, instead of going where you expect, you are taken to a site different from the one on which you clicked.
  • Numerous and annoying pop-up ads
  • Unwanted software installed
  • Browser slows down: Pages take longer to load.
  • Additional toolbars appear on your browser

Most spyware is installed without your knowledge when you click on pop-up ads, download music files, install free programs, and so on. Being cautious about what you click on or install on your computer can help you avoid unwanted spyware and adware.

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Practice defensive computing
The best way to protect yourself against a system compromise is not to engage in activities which can leave you vulnerable to attacks.
  • Never click any links from e-mail messages from an unknown source.
  • Never download e-mail attachments unless you are certain the sender intended to send you the file. Many e-mail viruses will send copies of themselves to members of an address book, so you may actually know the apparent sender of the message. To be safe, verify with the sender that the message was intended for you before you download the attachment.
  • Be very suspicious of any e-mail from an unknown source, and never download files from an unknown source.
  • Don't download software from unfamiliar or untrusted sources.
  • Scan any disks you have used in public computers or have shared before using them in another computer.
  • If you use Instant Messaging, do not run programs or follow links that people send to you.
  • Do not use file sharing software. Downloading and/or sharing copyrighted material is illegal, and many Internet worms are spread through file sharing networks.

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Be careful what software you download
Spyware and malware is lurking where you least expect it. Be careful when you download peer-to-peer programs. Many of these programs also install spyware and malware onto your computer without your knowledge or consent.

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Create strong passphrases
Strong passphrases can help protect both your computer and other accounts containing personal information.

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Back up your files
Because technology can at times prove unreliable, it is important to save your files in more than one location. You should save your files in at least two locations of the following locations:
  • your personal computer's hard drive
  • your student/faculty/staff Novell account
  • CD or DVD
  • USB drive

Faculty and staff: If you save your files to the network they are backed up on a regular basis.

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