Keeping Your Account Secure

Why should you read this?

Security is everyone’s problem. If you use a computer on the computer science network, then any holes in our security could potentially prove harmful to you; thus, it is in your best interest to help keep our security tight.

What can I do?

Glad you asked. Here are some suggestions:

Be careful with your password.

Memorize your password; if you have to keep it written down, someone could read it while you type it in. Don’t store your password on a computer anywhere either; you don’t know how secure, or insecure, those systems are. Never give your password to anyone claiming to be a member of the department staff; the system group has super-user privileges and doesn’t need to know your password. Lastly, don’t let anyone else have your password; sure you can trust them, but what if they write it down and lose it?

Don’t leave yourself logged in.

It’s a bother, but if you have to go to the bathroom or something, either log out or make sure no one else can get to the terminal you’re logged in on. Remember it only takes an intruder a few seconds to copy all your files! Also, when you log out, use the “logout” command instead of “bye”–“bye” doesn’t clear the screen after logging you out.

Be careful with your stuff.

Computer security doesn’t end when you log off! Pick up your print-outs quickly and don’t leave your floppies lying around. Our system could be the most secure in the world, and it wouldn’t matter if someone picked up a floppy that had your valuable information.

Report suspicious activity and other security problems.

If you think something’s not right, or if you find a security hole, let the systems group know. Maybe it’s nothing, but it’ll make you feel better to be sure.

Check on what’s happening.

Take a few minutes from time to time to check the permissions on your files, and to see if there’s anything in your directories that shouldn’t be. When you log in, look at the time and place of last login. Was that you? Read the message of the day. Read signs and material posted in the labs; at the very least, you might learn something about the system.

Don’t be a security problem.

Don’t let people into the labs unless you know they’re supposed to be there. If someone is insistent, call the systems group. Don’t pry into other people’s files and passwords: remember the golden rule!

Your Computer Science account grants access to many of the services you will need to complete classwork and research. A brief overview of the services we provide can be found in the next part of the tutorial.