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Be aware of the following precautions to help protect yourself, your data and your equipment—both in the workplace and at home.
Rule of thumb: when in doubt, do not open, download, or execute the file or email attachment in question.
- Guard your password.
- Never share your password with anyone.
- Never write your password down.
- Never include your password in a login script.
- Update your virus protection software regularly, or when new virus alerts are announced (get anti-virus information for your Hopkins workstation).
- Use a firewall program, especially if you use a high-speed Internet connection like cable, DSL, or T-1, which leave your computer connected to the Internet 24 hours a day.
- Never download files sent to you by strangers or click on hyperlinks from people you don’t know.
- Never open files attached to an email from an unknown, suspicious or untrustworthy source.
- Never open files attached to an email if the subject line is questionable or unexpected.
- Never open files attached to an email unless you know what it is. Even if it appears to come from a relative or close friend, confirm that they really sent it.
- Delete chain emails and junk email. Never forward or reply to any of them.
- Try not to store financial information on your laptop unless absolutely necessary.
- Exercise caution if you are purchasing goods or services online.
- Make sure you know with whom you are completing the transaction.
- Verify their identity independently (e.g. check directory assistance or the Better Business Bureau to verify the business exists).
- Never install screen savers or games without verifying that they are safe.
- Exercise caution when downloading files from the Internet.
- Be certain that the source is a legitimate and reputable one.
- Verify that an anti-virus program checks the files on the download site.
- If you're uncertain, don't download the file at all or download the file to a USB flash drive or external hard drive and test it with your own anti-virus software.
- Limit the amount of personal information you share. There could be thousands of people reading your postings, lists or newsgroup sites. Some services archive newsgroup messages indefinitely, providing keyword search capabilities to find anything that anyone ever posted on a public newsgroup site.
- Consider how much personal information you include in your email signature file. Is your home telephone number or address really necessary?
- Back up your files on a regular basis.
- Delete personal information before you dispose of a computer.