University of Southern Indiana

Safe Computing

The following recommendations should help keep your computer secured.

  1. Report Computer Security Issues and Viruses to the USI Information Technology Help Desk 812-465-1080 
    • If you believe someone has stolen your password or accessed your computer.
    • If you receive a suspicious e-mail.
    • If you put infected media into your computer.
    • If you misplace a device with sensitive data on it.
  2. Update your Operating System regularly.
    Most desktop security incidents are centered on flaws in the operating system. As these flaws are discovered, vendors release patches to cover these security holes. By updating your operating system you ensure it has all the latest patches. Make sure your system is always patched and up to date - If you don't know how to do this contact the Help Desk for assistance.
  3. Create Strong, Effective Passwords. 
    More information on passwords - see Password Security link on right.
  4. Install and Update Antivirus Software. 
    Antivirus software with up-to-date virus definitions (the list of viruses it can detect) is just as essential today as it has always been. University owned desktop and laptops should have Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection installed and configured by Information Technology personnel. Viruses can come from:
    • E-mail and instant messaging attachments.
    • Infected files shared via removable storage (USB drives, CDs, and other media).
    • Network Shares.
    • Software downloaded from the Internet.
    • Wireless connections
  5. Do not Open Unexpected e-mail Attachments.
    • One very common and successful trick is for a virus to send itself as an email attachment using random To: and From: addresses
    • Do not open unexpected e-mail or instant messaging attachments, even from coworkers or other trusted sources.
    • Never open attachments from an unknown or suspicious source.
    • Never download freeware or shareware from the Internet unless you investigate the source.
    • Disable macros on questionable documents.
  6. Do not assume your email is private
    • E-mail messages sent over the Network can be read by others, including individuals within USI.
    • Never send passwords, credit card numbers, or other access information via e-mail unless it is encrypted.
    • Remember USI owns all incoming and outgoing instant messaging and e-mail messages.
    • E-mail and Instant Messaging Do Not Assume That Your E-mail Will Be Read Only By the Intended Recipients. Think of E-mail as you would think of a postcard. No one writes confidential or sensitive information on a postcard, because it offers no privacy. E-mail is similar. Your messages sometime won'­t get to your intended recipients due to delivery problems or invalid addresses. Messages sent over a wireless network are essentially broadcast and can be intercepted. If you have sensitive information to share by E-mail, your best bet is to use encryption to both protect the contents of your message and to prove to the recipient that the message was sent by you.
  7. Avoid opening SPAM 
    • Do not use your email address when filling out web forms (where a web page asks your name, address, and email address)
    • Do not open email messages that are sure to be SPAM. Some spammers use a technique where they are alerted when their message is read which pieces are opened (not replied to-but opened). They will send active mailboxes more mail and even sell your address to other spammers.
    • Do not publicize your email address on web pages. There are tools that spammers use to scan web pages looking for MailTo links.
    • Be careful how you post to mailing lists, chat rooms, or newsgroups. Posting (not subscribing) makes your address vulnerable and available for harvesting. If you don't mind possibly receiving spam mail, post anyway. But if you do mind, use personal email to correspond directly with the person to whom you are responding. For chat rooms or newsgroups, you can also correspond directly with one of the frequent posters, or with the moderator, if there is one.
  8. Be aware of Scams and Phishing attempts
    • Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information. Phishing messages typically ask for information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, date of birth, etc.
    • Do not use the links in an email, instant message, or chat to get to any web page if you suspect the message might not be authentic or you don't know the sender.
    • Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information
    • The IRS most likely will not contact you via email.
    • IF it sounds too good to be true (you've won a lottery)...

    You can report "phishing" or spoofed e-mails to the following groups: 
    The Federal Trade Commission at 
    You can file a complaint online at or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP 

  9. How to Get Rid of Spyware?
    Several free tools are available on the web to help you get rid of spyware. For recommendations and assistance please contact the Help Desk.
  10. Keep your Personal Firewall on
    • Control Panel, Windows Firewall, turn windows firewall on or off. Make sure all "on" options are selected.

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