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Keep a Clean Machine

Keep a Clean Machine

Desktops. Laptops. Smartphones. Tablets.

These devices are gateways to incredible information, tools and people. They are powerful and sophisticated. They are extensions of our very lives. Unfortunately, criminals have found ways to access and exploit them, often without our knowing. They are stealing our information, our money, and our access.

If it Connects to the Internet, Clean it Up and Clean it Out

So, let's show our internet-connecting devices some extra-special love and care. When we talk about “keeping a clean machine” we mean cleaning out, locking down and backing up. Having an up-to-date, protected device is the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.

1) Is everything up to date?

  • Operating system
  • Apps/Software
  • Firewall
  • Anti-virus
  • Browsers

2) Is everything running as it should?

  • Monitor your mobile device's data usage and investigate discrepancies
  • Keep only the apps and software you actually use. Get rid of the rest to reduce risks
  • Know the source of your mobile apps -- fraudulent apps often masquerade as popular products. Only download apps from trusted app marketplaces
  • Don't "jailbreak" or "root" your mobile device -- running non-standard apps may prevent the installation of security updates or void your device warranty

If it Connects to the Internet, Lock it Down & Back it Up

  • Install encryption software
  • Enable device locking -- use a strong passcode or passphrase, facial recognition, or fingerprint recognition to restrict access
  • Protect your data again and again -- back it up to an external hard drive (which you store in a secure place, of course)
  • Remotely manage your mobile devices -- enable the features to remotely find, lock and erase content should your device be lost or stolen
  • Be aware of "shoulder surfing" -- someone looking over your shoulder to capture passwords, ID numbers or other data
  • Be selective choosing apps -- understand and be comfortable with what information (e.g. location, your contacts, social networking profiles) the app would access and share BEFORE you download it
  • If you are getting rid of a device, erase all your personal data and saved passwords; contact the IT Service Center for assistance
Safe Computing Opportunities for February

Attend our "Safe Computing: Understanding Your Smartphone" session Feb. 15 at noon in KU. Register at

If you are 50+ years of age, sign up for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute seminar, "Staying Secure in an Online World." UDLLI Website

Clean up your home computer with these free tools (StaySafeOnline.Org)

Want to Understand Malware? Watch this Video

Federal Trade Commission Youtube Video:


Information Technologies (UDit)

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