Endpoint Computing Best Practices

 
 

Summary

Criminals are on the lookout for ways to breach computers and steal personal and sensitive information.  Security awareness is the starting point for protecting against this data and identity information theft.   It is our goal at Georgia Tech to help protect students, faculty and staff in the fight against cyber criminal activity.  This site lists top best practices to help keep our campus environment safer and more secure.   
 
 
 
 
Patch your workstation 
If a patch is available to the public, there is a good chance an exploit is already available to cyber criminals. 
 
  • Set up your computer for automatic software and operating system patching. 
  • Exploits are more likely to attack known vulnerabilities in both software and operating systems.
  • Remove old software and operating system (eg. Windows XP) that is no longer receiving patches.
  • Verify software patching for  web browsers, Adobe products, Flash, Java, and more.  
 
 
Protective Software 
Protective software is very helpful in preventing known attack methods.
 
  • Install anti-virus or malware protection for your computer and enable active scanning.
  • Intrusion detection software is available for all operating systems as well.
  • Microsoft now has protection software pre-installed (Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Defender ) verify they are active and working.
  • Enable firewall protection:  most modern operating systems now have firewalls.
  • Enable firewall logging, see  Windows Logging for more information.
 
 
Phishing
A common method for cyber criminals to gain access to computer systems by just asking/tricking users for credentials.
  • Stay informed about the latest phishing scams and tactics -  phishing Link
  • Don't click on embedded links in emails, chat programs or social media software without verifying destination.
  • Be aware that phishing attempts will spoof sender email addresses to make it appear to come from important people or people you know and trust.
  • Attackers may want your account information or to have you install malware on your workstation, don't give it to them 
  • If you think you were tricked into giving up your credentials -  change your password
  • If you think you mistakenly installed a virus please visit our page regarding what to do now: Link to hacked article
 
Email Security

Email scams have been around a long time and this is still a means of installing malware and phishing for information.

  • Remember, email is usually in plain text and information in an email is potentially available to the world.
  • Do not store or send passwords in email.  This is not a safe way to store or send passwords.
 
 
Passwords
Your password is the only thing between Bad Guys and your account.

 

Backups

A common malware attack encrypts files on your computer until you pay a fee, an easy way around this is backups. 
  • Perform regular backups of your data files. 
  • Perform regular backups of your entire OS.
  • Store backups media on a different device or location.
  • Consider encrypted your backups files. 

Logging

Logging tracks events on a computer allowing one to track what happened on the machine.
  • Firewall logging -  allow and denies
  • System Logging
  • Application Logging
 
Stay Informed 

Below are some thinks to site you can use to help get information about web sites and the latest trends in cyber security.

 
Google Transparency Report:  Safe Browsing Search Site Status
SANS News letters:   Newsletter link