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Secure your Computer

What is here

Please read over the following information and apply to your specific needs. The attitude of many computer users is "I don't have anything really important on my computer, so it doesn't matter if it get's broken into or infected with a virus." The problem with this line of thinking is that once your computer is "hacked" or infected, it can be used to attack others on the Vanderbilt network or the internet, and you can lose your network access.

Run your firewall

You are encouraged to turn on the "built-in" firewall. This personal firewall software will help make your machine "invisible" to many common worm and virus attacks. This in combination with Vanderbilt's antivirus software and operating system updates will go a long way to protect your computer from malicious software.

Use vanderbilt's antivirus software

To be effective, antivirus software must be used and updated frequently. If you are not currently using the Vanderbilt distribution of antivirus software, download it now. This software is set to update automatically, and to scan your entire computer on a regular basis.

Update your OS

Whether using Windows or OS X, installing the latest updates/upgrades is very important. As a convenience, it is possible to have your computer check periodically for system updates. For more information on desktop security ResNet users should visit the IT security pages.

Best practices

Don't give out your password. No one needs to know your password even if you are asking for assistance. Help staff are trained to resolve issues without asking for a password.

Also, don't use your "Vanderbilt" password (VUnetID) for other services on the internet or as the login password for your computer. These services can be compromised and your password would then be exposed.

Don't open email attachments if you don't know what they are, even if they are from someone you know. Many email viruses attach themselves as innocent looking documents from someone you know. It is best not to open an attachment, unless you are expecting it. Even then, it is a good idea to confirm with the sender that they really meant to send you something. Another way to avoid email viruses is with good (Vanderbilt's) antivirus software.

Malware-blocking using OpenDNS

To protect students from hostile, intrusive, or annoying computer programs, Vanderbilt IT, in partnership with Vanderbilt Student Government, completed the deployment of the malware-blocking capabilities of OpenDNS (domain name service) software, for all residential students, in October 2010.

OpenDNS is configured to block access to Websites that have been identified as hosts for malware, phishing attacks, or "botnets." This configuration will not block access based on a Website's content.

If you attempt to access a Website that has been blocked due to malware, you will be redirected to an OpenDNS page informing you of that fact. If you believe that you have been redirected to the OpenDNS block page in error, let the Help Desk know online at the IT helpdesk, by phone at (615) 343-9999, or in person at Rm 141, Hill Center. The Help Desk will submit a ticket to OpenDNS technicians to verify that the site has not been erroneously blocked.