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Best Practices

 

Everyday work with computers and the Internet entails well-known risks. Here we provide some advice on a few rules we should comply to in order to minimize these.

 

General security rules

  • Regularly backup you working and personal files and folders! Remember that pen drive's lifetime is very irregular and even hard drives can suffer permanent failure, causing the loss of all of the data stored into them. Your working documents should always be saved in several different magnetic devices and stored in different physical locations;
  • Always use strong passwords, in order to protect them from the attacks aiming to decode passwords. A password should...

- have no less than 8 characters;

- not be a name or word;

- not consist only of numbers nor only of letters; upper and lowercase characters should be combined;

  • Change your passwords regularly;
  • Install an anti-virus software and make sure automatic updates are active;
  • Keep your Operating System up to date, and with the automatic update setting active;
  • Always logout the applications our websites in which you authenticated with a login and password; you should click the "Quit" or "Logout" button for this;
  • Don't leave your portable devices (laptops, mobile phones, pen drives, etc.) unattended at public access locations, such as working rooms;

 

Working with email

  • Unless you're able to clearly identify the source and contents of a message, don't open any attachements it might include.
  • Don't click any links included in an email message, unless it has been sent by someone you are able to clearly identify. By clicking a link within a malicious email, chances are that an application will be remotely executed in your system, with unpredictable consequences.
  • Never provide your passwords or other personal data, in response to a message that has asked you to do so. Unfortunately, it is today a common practice by spammers, known as "phishing", to try to capture passwords by asking them through fake messages. Spammers often present themselves as "webmail administrators" or "bank account managers", which can be easily done by simulating the whole message and the reply address, or "From" field.

 

If a password of an email account from a domain (like @fcsh.unl.pt) is captured and used by spammers for mass mailing, all the email addresses belonging to that domain may be blacklisted in international lists and temporarily forbidden to send email to certain global servers, with serious consequences for the institution!

You should consider that no credible institution will ask their members to send passwords by email.

You should neither send personal information through Facebook, Skype or Messenger.

 

Working with documents

  • Regularly backup you working and personal files and folders! Remember that pen drives lifetime is very irregular and even hard drives can suffer permanent failure, causing the loss of all of their data.
  • Avoid editing documents located on a pen drive. Instead of that, copy them to your hard drive and, after your work is done, copy them back to the pen drive.
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