Computer Security: Tips for Securing Hardware

Tips for Securing Office Machines

  • Close and lock doors of unoccupied spaces, even when you intend to be gone for only a moment.
  • Install physical barriers, including door and window locks, tamper-resistant hinges, alarm systems, and other anti-theft devices.
  • Install fasteners to protect equipment against earthquake damage.
  • Make sure that UCSD equipment is identified via inventory stickers or other markings.
  • Maintain strict key control, including the use of codes and ID cards to access spaces.
  • Don't leave empty boxes outside an office or room after installing new equipment.
  • Protect and back up important data on your computer. Follow safe password practices.
  • Manage data in a way that reflects its sensitivity. Be aware of data that is sensitive and legally protected, whether it is displayed on screen, downloaded or printed.
  • Back up data on your machine regularly and store it in a secure location separate from your computer.
  • Do not overwrite backup media unless you are sure that you have a more recent, readable backup.
  • Situate your computer screen so others can't easily see what is displayed on the monitor.
  • Update software regularly, including anti-virus and security patches.
  • Register your computer and use your assigned IP address.

Tips for Securing Laptops & other Mobile Hardware

  • Set up passwords, choosing them carefully
  • Safeguard data. Back up key data frequently onto floppy disks, recordable CDs, ZIP disks, or networks. Carry all backup disks separately from the laptop. Do not keep any sensitive data (e.g., Social Security number, credit cards, or other personal information) stored on your machine.
  • Take defensive measures. Turn off the computer, or disconnect from the Internet, when you’re not working for long periods. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and a firewall if connecting from off campus. This prevents hackers from getting into your computer or the UCSD network.
  • Lock up your Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) card when you’re not using the computer. If you need help with this, ask your desktop support person.
  • Discourage thieves. These precautions make your laptop less desirable: labels and tags, alarms, cable locks, a docking station and tracking and recovery programs.
  • Use special care in public or while traveling. Keep it out of sight. What thieves can’t see, they can’t steal. When you’re not using the device, it should be in a locked area.
  • Take responsibility. You're responsible for the safekeeping of UCSD-related data whenever you use the UCSD network. Follow the same policies and procedures you would if you were working on campus.

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