Do-It-Yourself Checklist

Quick and Easy

Screen Saver Password

  • Create a screen saver password to prevent unauthorized access to your computer when you are away from the console.

Use Strong Passwords

  • Use strong passwords to protect the data on your computer. A number of techniques exist to break into computers with weak passwords.

Antivirus Software

  • Install antivirus software on your computer.
  • Visit the Software Downloads page for details.

Remove Nonessential Software

  • Installing any software on your machine opens avenues of attack into your computer. It is highly recommended that you remove any software from your computer that is not essential to performing your work-related responsibilities.

Request an Audit of the Computer or Computers in Your Office

  • Contact the iTech Security Services administrator to schedule an audit or consultation to help identify information security-related issues in your office.
  • E-mail infosec@usm.edu or call 601.266.5889.

Ongoing Tasks

Antivirus Software Update

  • Verify that your antivirus software is updating properly. Antivirus software uses a catalog of known viruses to scan your computer. If this catalog is not updated on a regular basis, your computer will not be protected from any new viruses that are created (Multiple viruses are released every week so going more than a few days without an update puts your computer at significant risk for virus infections.).

Update Your Operating System

  • Check your operating system for any needed updates on a weekly basis.
  • Instructions for the most common operating systems are available at the Infosec Resources page.

Update Applications

  • Update any applications on your computer. Check for updates to any applications on your computer at least once per month. For details, visit the applications Web page and look for patches or updates.

Use Common Sense

  • Do not open e-mail attachments or run programs that come from unknown sources or that appear in an inappropriate context.

Beware of Social Engineering

  • Check credentials of anyone asking for information about any Southern Miss computing or network resources or requesting confidential information - particularly if the request is made over the phone.

Advanced Tasks

Audit All User Accounts

  • Check the privileges of all user accounts on your computer.
  • Remove all unused accounts and remove unneeded privileges from active accounts (monthly).

Audit All Shared Resources

  • Identify and check the configuration of all shared folders on your computer. Improperly configured shared folders are a common source of virus infections and, in extreme cases, may allow anyone on the network to delete all the files on a hard drive (monthly, or any time shared folders are added or removed).