SEL Tip of the Week: Practicing Internet Safety on Campus

Photo from Flickr user Vhorvat.

The Library Digital Initiatives and IT department recently announced that articles can now be accessed through UC e-Links even via the unauthenticated UCLA_Web wireless network. The result is that non-UCLA researchers can find and use these resources on their own devices, instead of waiting for one of a limited number of public computers. This increase in access to our resources is a welcome development.

That said, this change in access on one of our wireless networks is a reminder to review the wireless network options as well as to be more aware of your public use of the Internet.

UCLA_Web, while now able to access UC e-Links articles, is still an unauthenticated network that is not secure. eduroam, on the other hand is the preferred choice for students, faculty, and staff as it provides authenticated, secure access to the Internet. You will notice that CLICC laptops connect by default to eduroam.

For the most secure wireless Internet experience, UCLA affiliates (i.e. students, faculty, and staff) are advised to use the eduroam network.

If for any reason you are using a public wireless network, consider these tips:

Protect your computer or mobile device.

  • Make sure your firewall is on and your antivirus software is up to date.

  • Disable file sharing. See the GCFlearnfree tutorial section “Wi-Fi hotspot safety tips” for a more detailed description of this process.

  • As always, do not leave items unattended. Ensure that your devices are password protected so that if they are stolen, your data will not be vulnerable.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pininfrna.

Protect your privacy.

  • Be aware of anyone who might be glancing over your shoulder to gather personal information about you.

  • Do not use the same password for every website you visit. It is also recommended that you periodically change passwords. The resources below provide tips for selecting effective passwords.

  • Do not conduct financial transactions while using a public wireless network.

  • When using an insecure connection,  best practice is to send information only to sites that are fully encrypted.

For more information on this and related topics, visit the resources below:

UCLA’s Information Technology Services offers their best practices for securing computers and the data they store.

An easy to navigate overview of Internet safety, developed as a program of the Goodwill Community Foundation.

The National Cyber Security Alliance’s “Stay Safe Online” site talks about Internet privacy and security.

On Guard Online is a site put together by the federal government. This page teaches users how to be safe when using a public wireless network and explains the benefits of encryption.

TechSoup talks about how to keep data  safe in all settings, including addressing threats to home computers, public computer safety, and the use of  portable media storage.

For help connecting to the campus wireless networks or to get more guidance about Internet safety, contact a Science and Engineering Librarian.

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