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Safe Computing

Anti-Virus and Operating System Software
Browser Recommendations
Network Security
Password Best Practices
Personal Firewalls
Phishing Information
Spam and Adware
Wireless Security

Network Security

There is no such thing as a perfectly secure network. This is why it's very important to practice your own personal security for your own computer. IT has outlined a number of steps that will help minimize security risks and maximize your privacy. If you have any questions on any of these or need any assistance with them, please contact IT Support.

Password Best Practices
Beloit College account passwords must be at least 8 characters in length. It is recommended that you create a strong password using some of these tips:

  • Use a combination of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers and/or special characters (@#$%)
  • Do not use your username, your real name, family member’s name or a pet’s name
  • Do not use complete words
  • Create a password significantly unique from your other passwords

Steps for changing passwords for Beloit College accounts can be found here.

Anti-virus and Operating System Software
Two of the most effective means of protecting your computer are running up-to-date anti-virus software and keeping all operating system software current with the latest patches.

College policy requires that any computer connected to the Beloit College Network by any means must:

  • Run up-to-date anti-virus software. Beloit College students who do not have anti-virus software may download a current version: here. The College Symantec anti-virus software license does not allow for installation on faculty and staff personally-owned computers.
  • Keep all operating system software current with the latest security related patches from the vendor.

Follow our Windows Update walkthrough for help with these updates.

Click here to view the Beloit College policy on computers connected to the Beloit College network.

If you have questions or problems, please contact IT Support.

Check out our "Keeping a Clean Computer" page for tips on avoiding viruses and spyware on your computer, cleaning viruses and spyware off of your computer, and contact information for computer manufacturers and local computer repair shops.

New threats come out every day with varying levels of severity, to see a list and definition of current threats, click here to view Symantec's threat explorer site.

Personal Firewalls

A firewall is a software program that offers protection from many vulnerabilities and attacks such as Trojan horses, automated dialers, port scanning, ping "attacks" and uncontrolled data flow from your PC. Most operating systems today have a firewall built in.  You should ensure that your firewall is turned on.  Please contact IT Support if you need help turning on your firewall.

Wireless Security

Accessing the network through wireless laptops and other wireless devices is more insecure than using the network with a direct network connection. Because a wireless connection is a shared environment, it is very important to practice secure connectivity methods. Any of your content, including passwords, may be viewed by others within the same wireless environment if you not properly protected.

Encrypting your network connections is the only way to maintain privacy and confidentiality of your content (including your passwords) over wireless. You should always use an SSL connection when connecting to sites that require a password or other confidential content. Please read the Encryption How-To web page. It can be as trivial to do as simply using https instead of http in the web address. If you have questions about this, please contact IT Support.

Spam and Adware

Google Apps for Education comes with a built in spam filter.  More information about the way Google handles spam, including how to manually manage spam in Google Mail, is available here.

Personal Computer Protection from Adware and Spyware:
IT recommendations for anti-spyware programs are available here. These programs will not prevent additional pop ups from loading on your computer, but are fairly good at removing existing adware and spyware. Because pop-up blockers for any web browser may interfere with some websites, IT does not recommend any specific pop-up blocker software. However, you may use them at your own discretion. Alternatively, IT advocates browsers such as Firefox which have popup blockers built-in. They also do not automatically allow programs and plug-ins that are downloaded without your consent.

Browser Recommendations

Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari are Internet browsers that are recommended by IT. Download the latest versions here.