Protecting Yourself Online


There are many ways to protect yourself while online. Here are some suggestions to help you stay safe online:

  • Install and Maintain Antivirus Software. Antivirus software recognizes malware and protects your computer against it. Always visit vendor sites directly rather than clicking on advertisements or e-mail links. Because attackers are continually creating new viruses and other forms of malicious code, it is important to keep your antivirus software up to date.
  • Use Caution With Links and Attachments. Take appropriate precautions when using e-mail and web browsers to reduce the risk of an infection. Be wary of unsolicited e-mail attachments, and use caution when clicking on e-mail links, even if they seem to come from people you know. If an email looks or sounds suspicious, ask the IT helpdesk before you click. Learn more about spoofing and phishing.
  • Block Pop-Up Advertisements. Pop-up blockers disable windows that could potentially contain malicious code. Most browsers have a free feature that can be enabled to block pop-up advertisements.
  • Use an Account With Limited Permissions. When navigating the Web, it’s a good security practice to use an account with limited permissions. If you do become infected, restricted permissions keep the malicious code from spreading and escalating to an administrative account.
  • Disable External Media Autorun and Autoplay Eatures. Disabling AutoRun and AutoPlay features prevents external media infected with malicious code from automatically running on your computer.
  • Create and Use Strong Passwords. Make your passwords as difficult as possible to prevent attackers from guessing them.
  • Keep Software Updated. Install software patches on your computer so attackers do not take advantage of known vulnerabilities. Consider enabling automatic updates, when available.
  • Back Up Your Data. Regularly back up your documents, photos, and important e-mail messages to the cloud or to an external hard drive. (Make sure your hard drive is disconnected from your computer after backup is done). In the event of an infection, your information will not be lost. Keep in mind data containing New York State and other private information (Social Security number, state-issued driver’s license or non-driver identification card number, financial account number, credit or debit card number), in combination with any required security code, access code, or password that would permit access to an individual’s financial account, is also classified as Confidential Data regardless of context. Confidential data is not allowed to be processed, created, collected, stored, oor archived in the cloud unless approved by the university’s chief information security officer.
  • Install or Enable a Firewall. Firewalls can prevent some types of infection by blocking malicious traffic before it enters your computer. If the operating system you are using includes one, enable it.
  • Monitor Accounts. Look for any unauthorized use of, or unusual activity on, your accounts—especially banking accounts. If you identify unauthorized or unusual activity, contact your account provider immediately.
  • Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi. Unsecured public Wi-Fi may allow an attacker to intercept your device’s network traffic and gain access to your personal information.
  • Use Dedicated Applications for Banking, Making Payments, Etc.

We encourage you to complete CUNY’s short cybersecurity awareness training.

Need Help?

Contact the IT Helpdesk

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