Best Practices

▼   Software

When you update your Operating System (OS) or your application software, it also keeps you protected by patching vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious attackers.

Update Windows 10

Update earlier supported versions of Windows

Update earlier unsupported versions of Windows

▼   Firewall
A firewall is important in preventing malicious software from being transmitted to your computer via the internet or any other network.
For more information visit:
▼   Antivirus

An Antivirus searches for known malware and attempts to remove it. 

Update your Antivirus because it is only effective when it has the latest virus definitions.

If you do not have an Antivirus installed, please visit our tools menu to download one.

▼   Password Management

How Safe is Your Password?

Time it would take a computer to crack a password with the following parameters:

Number of characters Lowercase letters only At least one uppercase letter At least one uppercase letter + number At least one uppercase letter + number + symbol
1 Instantly Instantly - -
2 Instantly Instantly Instantly -
3 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
4 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
5 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
6 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
7 Instantly Instantly 1 min 6 min
8 Instantly 22 min 1 hrs 8 hrs
9 2 min 19 hrs 3 days 3 wks
10 1 hrs 1 mths 7 mths 5 yrs
11 1 day 5 yrs 41 yrs 400 yrs
12 3 wks 300 yrs 2,000 yrs 34,000 yrs


▼   Mobile Security

Security Measures for your mobile device:

  • Set up a screen lock password/pin on your device to provide a "first line of defense" to an intruder.
  • Install or enable software to remotely track your device.
    • Consider enabling a remote wipe feature to protect your data in case your stolen device cannot be recovered.
  • Update your device and enable automatic updating so it is always running the latest, most secure version of the operating system.
  • Manage your apps
    • Only use trusted sources such as iTunes or Google Play.
    • Remove unused apps.
    • Monitor what permissions you give your apps.
  • Backup your data to a trusted source.
  • Be discreet with your mobile device in highly public or crowded areas.
    • Use only trusted WiFi sources.
    • Avoid sending sensitive information on an insecure network.
▼    Email

Handling unexpected emails:

  • If you do not recognize the sender of an email, contact the sender through another means of communication to verify its legitimacy, such as calling the sender.
  • If you were not expecting an email attachment, do not open it until you have verified it is safe.

Report any unverified/malicious emails to the Computer Services Center immediately.
For more information visit: reportingsuspiciousemails.pdf.

▼   File Encryption

In order to secure that sensitive information, the file needs to be encrypted so that only authorized users can read the file. Encrypted files cannot be read without a special key, such as a password, which is used to authenticate the user.

Unauthorized access could occur regardless of whether you transmit the file across the internet.

It is best practice to secure files containing sensitive information using one of the encryption methods below:

There is no easy way to unencrypt a file if you lose the password.

▼   Personally Identifiable Information

The best way to handle files with Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is to take these steps to ensure the information is secure.

  • Keep the file encrypted at all times.
  • Keep a backup stored in a separate location from the original.
  • Do not leave the file unattended while in use.
  • Delete the file when it is no longer needed.
  • Redact the information when sharing the file with unauthorized individuals.
  • Rename the file as not give away its contents.