Computer and device security doesn't stop when you leave the office or classroom. Here are some practical tips to help you protect your home computer and network. Keeping yourself secure doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming. Just implementing a few simple fixes can help you get on the path to safe computing no matter where you are.
Use antivirus software
Tufts-owned computers are automatically equipped with an antivirus application, but it is important to protect your personal and home devices and computers as well. If set properly, antivirus applications will periodically and automatically run scans; be sure to review the results to make sure you are not infected with a virus. For recommendations on antivirus software, see our Antivirus Applications page.
Keep your operating system, browser, and software up-to-date.
Updates are often released by software companies in order to fix known issues with a product. Keeping your operating system, browser, and software up-to-date helps you to avoid being hacked by those who know about the holes in the older software. Updating is often as simple as saying "yes" when a pop-up notification asks if you would like to update an application. Java, Flash, and Adobe are common targets of attacks, so it is especially important to update these programs.
Store important, Tufts related files on shared network drives
The network drives are data storage space located on Tufts University servers. All students, faculty, and staff are assigned an Active Directory Account when they join the university which allows them to access the shared network drives as well as many other University resources and services. Remember to follow the confidential data guidelines and if at all possible, don't access sensitive data from home. Any device could potentially be lost or stolen, leaving the data open to whoever takes your device. Instead, store sensitive information on the shared network drives (P: or Q:) or leave it at work. A device can be left on the subway, but a network drive cannot. Even if your device is compromised, the sensitive data will be safe.
The P: drive, your personal drive, is also called your home share. No one except you may access this data. This is an excellent location for any documentation that needs to be edited or retrieved from multiple locations.
The R: or Q: drive is an area with shared access by members of a particular project or department. Uses for R: drive storage include shared project files, databases, applications, and other departmental-specific documentation.
Use the Tufts VPN Network Connect
Similarly, if you are working on Tufts-related material at home or are browsing the web in an insecure location (coffee shop, foreign country), it is suggested that you use the VPN. This application allows you to securely connect to the Tufts' network from anywhere in the world. You can access all Tufts resources and the web exactly as if you were on the Tufts campus. In addition, the traffic is encrypted, meaning it is much harder for someone to steal your data.
In order to locate, identify, and remove any confidential data that may have been inadvertently stored on your personal machine, the Tufts IdentityFinder license allows installation for personal use. Be sure to select the Home edition when installing.
We highly recommend Google's security advice for securely working on home computers.