Securing Your Computer

The IT staff at OSU strive to keep computers that are infected with malware off of the network, but despite our best efforts, there are infected machines that connect to the network. As part of our ongoing efforts to increase security for the entire OSU community, we have developed the following guidelines.

Before you connect your computer to the OSU network, we recommend that you follow a standard set of procedures for securing your system to ensure that the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of university systems are maintained.

Instructions for Computers

With these small steps, you can greatly increase your personal computers performance and security!

If you have any questions or concerns, feel to call the IS Service Desk at 541-737-8787 (OSU-Cascades: 541-322-2051).

Backing Data Up

Backing up data is an essential part of keeping your data safe. It is often overlooked and avoided by people until they lose a very important set of documents like photos they only have one copy of, their final paper, research documentation, or even their thesis. If you have learned your lesson and have decided to back up or want to avoid learning the lesson all together, below is a good starting point to keeping copies of your data.

An external hard drive is required for each of the methods provided since it is one of the most reliable methods.

For university-owned devices, it's highly recommend you contact your IT team (e.g. Community Network/COSINe customers).

Windows

For windows machines, we recommend the built in Microsoft Backup tool named 'File History'. It can be found by doing the following:

  1. Make sure the external hard drive is plugged in and recognized
  2. Press the windows key
  3. Do a search for 'File history'
  4. Turn on file history (it is turned off by default)
  5. Choose the external hard drive as the location to back up to

Only information in My Desktop/Libraries/Contacts/Pictures/Videos/Favorites will be saved, so make sure to not save anywhere else or it will not be backed up.

Mac OS X

For Mac OSX machines, we recommend time machine, which is the built in backup and restore software.

  1. Open Time Machine preferences from the Time Machine menu. Or choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Time Machine.
  2. Click Select Backup Disk.
  3. Select an external hard drive, then click Use Disk.
  4. After you choose a backup disk, optionally click “Add or Remove Backup Disk” to add more backup disks for extra security and convenience.

After you set up Time Machine, it automatically makes hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for all previous months. The oldest backups are deleted when your backup drive is full.

More information can be found here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201250

Difference Between SCEP and Windows Defender/Security Essentials

System Center Endpoint Protectoin (SCEP) and Windows Defender / Security Essentials are basically the same applications. The only difference is that SCEP is a enterprise supported application which allows for administrators to have granular control over settings so that the end user can not change them. Both Defender/Security Essentials and SCEP receive the same updates for definitions from Windows System Update Server.

Operating Systems

Whether you are using a Mac or PC, updating your operating system is very important. Updates are released on a regular basis to help protect your computer and to keep it running smoothly. Below are instructions that you can follow to ensure your computer is up to date!

Mac OS X▸


Apple periodically releases updates and patches that will protect Mac OS X from being attacked by viruses and other malicious programs. Configuring OS X to automatically install these patches will ensure your computer is always protected.

Schedule updates

1. Click on the Apple menu, and choose System Preferences.

Mac Menu

2. In the window that appears, select Software Updates from the System section.

Software Update Icon

3. Check the box by Check for Updates and select Weekly from the pull–down menu.

4. Check the box by Download important updates in the background.


Windows Vista/7▸


Microsoft periodically releases security patches for Windows operating systems. Downloading and installing these updates will help protect your computer from viruses and threats. All you need to install updates on your computer is an active internet connection, and the instructions below:

All of the images below can be clicked on if you need a larger view.

Step 1Start Menu

Click the Start circle at the bottom left of your desktop.

Click the All Programs option at the bottom of the menu.

Step 2Windows Update Link

Click the Windows Update option in this list.

Note: If a link for Windows Updates does not appear in this list, you can always access it by opening up the Control Panel.

Step 3Check for Updates

A separate window should open. When it does, select the Check for Updates option on the left-hand menu. Windows will then go online and check for available updates.

Step 4Updates Results

When the check for updates is finished, Windows will display a screen similar to this one, letting you know how many updates were found.

Note: if no updates are found at this point, you already have all the latest updates installed.

If you notice that the number of updates available and the number of updates selected is different (as it is on the screenshot to the right), or there are optional updates available, you should click on the link to view the list of updates and select any that are missing.

Note: Sometimes Windows will leave certain updates un-selected if they are large and will take longer to install. These are still important updates, and should be installed if you have the time to let your computer sit and install them.

If it already says you have all the updates selected, you can skip to step 6.

Step 5Update List

This screen should display a list of available updates. Check the box at the very top (the one above the list). This will select all the updates in the list for installation.

If you have optional updates available, you can click the Optional tab on the left to view them. If you see things like language packs or toolbars (like the Bing desktop toolbar), you can leave them un-checked because they are optional software. If you see any general updates in this list, it is a good idea to check the box next to them for installation.

Click the OK button when you are finished selecting updates

Step 6Install Updates

You should now be looking at the same screen as Step 4. Click the Install Updates button, and Windows will begin downloading and installing your updates.

Step 7Updates Progress Bar

You will see a progress bar similar to the one on the screenshot to the right. This will show you the current progress. Once the progress bar is full, Windows will be finished installing your updates!

Note: Windows may ask you to restart your computer when updates are done. If it does, it is a good itea to restart right away. Also, if you had a lot of updates to install, you should run through the steps on this page again after your computer restarts, as additinal updates may become available after installation.


Windows 8/8.1▸


Microsoft periodically releases security patches for Windows operating systems. Downloading and installing these updates will help protect your computer from viruses and threats. All you need to install updates on your computer is an active internet connection, and the instructions below:

All of the images below can be clicked on if you need a larger view.

 

Step 1

Click on the start button in the bottom left corner of your desktop.

Then typing in "control panel" once the start menu loads up, then proceed by clicking on the app.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2

Find the "Windows Update" link on the control panel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3

You will want to click on the "updates available" button to select which updates you want to install.

 

Note: you may need to have Windows 'check for updates' first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4

You can go through and manually select each update you want by pressing the check boxes next to it. Generally it is recommended to just press the box next to 'name' so that you select all of the updates.

You will then want to press Install.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5

Wait for the update bar to finish before turning off or rebooting your computer. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 6

You have now finished updating your computer for Windows 8 or 8.1!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Windows 10▸



Step 1

Open the settings app. From here you'll click on update and security.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2

From this page hit check for updates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3

From here it should automatically download and install available updates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Password Security

password securityIn order to keep your information secure you must keep your password secure. The following are not the only ways to keep your password secure, but they are a good start:

  • Use passphrases (see below).
  • Do not keep your password in open and public spaces (no sticky notes on your monitors!).
  • Change your password periodically.
  • Do not use the same password for everything.
  • If you think your password may have been compromised, change it immediately.
  • Never tell anyone your password.

Use a Passphrase Rather Than a Password

Passphrases are more secure than passwords because they are generally longer, making them less vulnerable to attack. They also allow you to remember your credentials, even when they expire frequently. The idea of a passphrase is to use a statement, or motto, rather than a word peppered with odd characters and symbols, as the latter can be difficult to dedicate to memory.

For instance, try:

  • A meaningful statement: "Carp3 Diem!"
  • Directions to a location: "Down Oak, 2nd on the Right"
  • A reference to what you're accessing: "Check1ng my Onid-Mail!" (NOTE: This is an awesome kind of passphrase, as you can customize it for any service you use, protecting your accounts from each other).
  • A catchy jingle: "I don't always use passwords, but when I do"

It is a good idea to add numbers/symbols in place of some letters for common passphrases. That way, it is harder for an outside user to guess your passphrase.

Now you have a password that's already in your memory, and you can recall this new passphrase with greater ease. Of course, you should avoid using passphrase without adding some special characters, as hackers can attack your account with commonly used statements or quotes.

Please Note: Some systems won't accept spaces in a passphrase, while others won't accept a large number of characters. You can contact the OSU Computer Helpdesk with any questions regarding passwords.

Web Browsers

This section is dedicated to helping you with different web browsers. Just click on your browser and then on the instructions you wish to see! If you have any requests for information, feel free to contact our computer helpdesk either by email, phone, or by clicking the Feedback button at the bottom of the page!

Windows

 Google Chrome▸

  Clearing Cookies and Cache▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'Settings'
  3. Click on the 'History' tab under Chrome
  4. Scroll to the very bottom and click 'Show advanced settings...'
  5. Under the 'Privacy' tab is 'Clear browsing data...'
  6. Choose 'From the beginning of time' in the drop down next to 'Obliterate the following items from:'. Make sure that only 'Cached images and files' and 'Cookies and ...' are checked (unless you want to clear more)

You have now cleared cookies and cache! This generally solves a lot of browser specific issues.


  Entering Private Browsing▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Then click on 'New incognito window'

This 'Incognito Window' is extremely useful to see if there is a Chrome extension that is causing problems. It can also help you see if you need to clear your cache and cookies.


  Setting a Home Page▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'Settings'
  3. Under 'Appearance' select 'Show Home Button' and click 'Change'
  4. Add the website you wish to be your homepage, click the box next to it and press 'OK'

This webpage will now open every time you start Chrome!


  Showing Bookmark Bar▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'Settings'
  3. Click on the 'Settings' tab
  4. Click on the box next to 'Always show the bookmarks bar'

    Your bookmarks bar should appear under the URL box now!

 Microsoft Edge▸

  Clearing Cookies and Cache▸


  1. Click “Hub” Button (three lines)
  2. Click “Clear all history”

  3. Select “Cookies and saved website data” and “Cached data and file”
  4. Click “Clear”


  Entering Private Browsing▸


  1. Click the “Menu” button (three dots)
  2. Select “New InPrivate window”


  Setting a Home Page▸


  1. Click the “Menu” button (three dots)
  2. Click “Settings”

  3. Scroll down to Advanced Settings and click on “Show advanced settings”

  4. Toggle the “Show the home button” on
  5. A box will open that allows you to enter your new home page
  6. Click “Save”


  Showing Bookmark Bar▸


  1. Click the “Menu” button (three dots)
  2. Click “Settings”

  3. Toggle the “Show the favorites bar” on


 Mozilla Firefox▸

  Clearing Cookies and Cache▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'Options'
  3. Select the 'Privacy' tab
  4. Click on 'clear your recent history' and this box will show up
  5. Click the dropdown arrow and select 'Everything'. Make sure that you only have 'Cookies & Cache' checked (unless you wanted to clear more)

You have now cleared cookies and cache! This generally solves a lot of browser specific issues.


  Entering Private Browsing▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'New Private Window'

    This 'Private Window' is extremely useful to see if there is an Firefox extension that is causing problems. It can also help you see if you need to clear your cache and cookies.

  Setting a Home Page▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'Options'
  3. Under the 'General' Tab is a field that says 'Home Page'. Add in the website of your choice!

    This webpage will now open every time you start Firefox!

  Showing Bookmark Bar▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'Customize'
  3. Click the 'Show / Hide Toolbars' in the bottom left corner.
  4. Make sure that the 'Bookmarks Toolbar' has a check to the left of it. If it does not, then click it once.

Your bookmarks bar should appear under the URL box now!


 Internet Explorer▸

  Clearing Cookies and Cache▸


  1. Click on the cogwheel in the top right corner.
  2. Hover over 'Saftey', then click 'Delete browsing history...'
  3. Make sure 'Preserve Favorites website data' is unchecked and check 'Cookies and website data' and 'Temporary Internet files and website files'
  4. Click the 'Delete' button

You have now cleared cookies and cache! This generally solves a lot of browser specific issues.


  Entering Private Browsing▸


  1. Click on the cogwheel in the top right corner.
  2. Hover over 'Saftey', then click 'InPrivate Browsing'

This 'InPrivate Window' is extremely useful to see if there is an extension that is causing problems. It can also help you see if you need to clear your cache and cookies.


  Setting a Home Page▸


  1. Click on the cogwheel in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'Internet options'
  3. Under the 'General' tab, you can add multiple home pages.

This webpage will now open every time you start Internet Explorer!


  Showing Bookmark Bar▸


  1. Right click just above the 'Back' button
  2. Make sure 'Favorites bar' is checked

Your bookmarks bar should appear under the URL box now!


Mac OSx

 Google Chrome▸

  Clearing Cookies and Cache▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'Settings'
  3. Click on the 'History' tab under Chrome
  4. Scroll to the very bottom and click 'Show advanced settings...'
  5. Under the 'Privacy' tab is 'Clear browsing data...'
  6. Choose 'From the beginning of time' in the drop down next to 'Obliterate the following items from:'. Make sure that only 'Cached images and files' and 'Cookies and ...' are checked (unless you want to clear more)

You have now cleared cookies and cache! This generally solves a lot of browser specific issues.


  Entering Private Browsing▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Then click on 'New incognito window'

This 'Incognito Window' is extremely useful to see if there is a Chrome extension that is causing problems. It can also help you see if you need to clear your cache and cookies.


  Setting a Home Page▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'Settings'
  3. Under 'Appearance' select 'Show Home Button' and click 'Change'
  4. Add the website you wish to be your homepage, click the box next to it and press 'OK'

This webpage will now open every time you start Chrome!


  Showing Bookmark Bar▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'Settings'
  3. Click on the 'Settings' tab
  4. Click on the box next to 'Always show the bookmarks bar'

    Your bookmarks bar should appear under the URL box now!

 Mozilla Firefox▸

  Clearing Cookies and Cache▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'Preferences'

  3. Select the 'Privacy' tab
  4. Click on 'clear your recent history' and this box will show up
  5. Click the dropdown arrow and select 'Everything'. Make sure that you only have 'Cookies & Cache' checked (unless you wanted to clear more)

You have now cleared cookies and cache! This generally solves a lot of browser specific issues.


  Entering Private Browsing▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'New Private Window'

    This 'Private Window' is extremely useful to see if there is an Firefox extension that is causing problems. It can also help you see if you need to clear your cache and cookies.

  Setting a Home Page▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'Preferences'
  3. Under the 'General' Tab is a field that says 'Home Page'. Add in the website of your choice!

    This webpage will now open every time you start Firefox!

  Showing Bookmark Bar▸


  1. Click the 'hamburger' lines in the top right corner.
  2. Select 'Customize'
  3. Click the 'Show / Hide Toolbars' in the bottom left corner.
  4. Make sure that the 'Bookmarks Toolbar' has a check to the left of it. If it does not, then click it once.

Your bookmarks bar should appear under the URL box now!


 Safari▸

  Clearing Cookies and Cache▸


  1. Click 'Safari' in the top left corner next to the Apple logo
  2. Select 'Clear History...'

  3. Make sure 'all history' is selected, then click 'Clear History'

You have now cleared cookies and cache! This generally solves a lot of browser specific issues.


  Entering Private Browsing▸


  1. Click on 'File' in the top left corner next to 'Safari'
  2. Then click on 'New Private Window'

This 'Private Window' is extremely useful to see if there is a Safari problem with cached information.


  Setting a Home Page▸


  1. Click on 'Safari in the top left corner'
  2. Then click 'Preferences...'

  3. Click on the 'General Tab'
  4. Type in your new homepage website address and Close the window

This webpage will never show up every time you open Safari!


  Showing Bookmark Bar▸


  1. Click on 'Bookmarks' in the top left corner of the screen
  2. Then select 'Show Bookmarks'

Safari's version of a 'bookmark bar' is the section that appear on the left side of your browser.