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Summary

The following article contains information on computer and network security from malware, spyware, scareware, viruses and phishing schemes. Following these recommendations will not keep you 100% safe, but it will reduce potentially unwanted risks to your personal data and your computer.

Passwords

Passwords are your first line of defense when it comes to computer and network security. Do not share your password with anyone. Do not write your password down in a place easily accessible to others. If you believe your password has been compromised, change your password immediately. 

Be Vigilant... Just Don't Click!

The first rule of computer security can be summed up with this statement, Just don't click. Internet scams are incredibly prevalent and the best way to protect yourself is to never click a link in an email, social networking message or reply to an email/message requesting personal information. This includes account numbers, account names (usernames), passwords, ID numbers, Social Security numbers, date of birth or anything you would consider personal information. A majority of emails requesting personal information are known as Phishing emails. They appear to be from a trusted and established organization; in reality they are an attempt to gain access to your account or steal information. This also applies to websites; be wary of free offers and contests. Do not click or reply if you are unsure of its source or why you got it!

If you ever have a question about an email you received (to your Bethel email address) please contact the ITS Help Desk for more information or verification of authenticity.

Verify "Auto Update" is On

Mac OS

The Mac OS software update program will automatically check for new updates on weekly basis for you to download and install. In Mac OS 10.5 (and later) you can enable the OS to automatically download and install high priority updates to your computer. The following link provides you with additional information about the Mac OS software update utility.

Use Anti-Virus Software

Anti-virus software does not guarantee that your computer will not become infected, but it will limit infections. If you do not have anti-virus software please consider one of the following free options.

Windows

If you are looking for free anti-virus software to install the Help Desk suggests using Microsoft Security Essentials. It is a free product offered by Microsoft that works extremely well with Windows computers.

Microsoft Security Essentials (Vista and 7 Only)

Note: Windows 8 and above users, Microsoft Security Essentials is called (Windows) Defender and should be part of your Operating System installation.

Mac OS

If you are looking for free anti-virus software to install the Help Desk suggests using Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition.

Sophos Anti-Virus

Avoid Spyware & Malware

Always exercise caution when installing free software. In particular be cautious around Internet pop-ups offering free computer scans. Websites and programs can include spyware or fake pop-ups which will attempt to trick you into doing something. If you believe you have been infected by malware below are some tools you can use for scanning and removing these infections.

Windows

The following programs can be downloaded and installed free of charge (unless noted).

Spybot Search and Destroy 
Malwarebytes (free and paid version available)
SuperAntiSpyware (free and paid version available)

Mac OS
Currently there are no free versions of malware scanning tools for Mac OS and Apple has done a fairly decent job at providing updates to protect against malware infections and exploits.

Computer Firewalls

Operating System Firewalls
Both Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh OS X contain built-in firewalls. In Windows Vista (or later) this is on by default. In Mac OS X the firewall needs to be manually turned on.
Internet Security Suites and 3rd Party Firewalls
Third-party firewalls, such as those provided by Internet security suites, are very comprehensive, but have been known to cause connection problems when accessing secure Bethel University websites from off-campus. In these situations, resolving the problem will require students to work with the software maker or to disable the software when accessing Bethel University Resources.