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Protecting your Computing Devices

How to protect your computing devices from viruses and other vulnerabilities.

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Blank or simple passwords are an invitation for abuse by viruses, worms, and criminals. Create a password that is a maximum of 8 characters long, using a combination of letters and numbers. Click below for details.

Here are some suggestions for creating passwords that you can remember and are acceptable for Passport York accounts:

  1. Use an Acronym of a phrase:
    • choose a short phrase you can remember and make it an acronym
    • if any letters of the acronym look like a number, make it a number.
    • eg) "two roads diverged into a yellow wood"
      can be the password: trdiayw
      and thus some numbers can also be inserted to be: 2rd1ayw
    • or, choose the first and last letter of each word in a phrase e.g. "mary had a little lamb" can be the password: myhdaalelb
  2. Use a special date in your life (not your birthday)
    • e.g. Wed May 17th 
      can be the password:
  3. Insert numbers into a word
    • e.g. email and 123
      becomes em123ail

* The passwords we suggested here won't actually work because they were used here as examples.

We suggest that you choose passwords using these tips even if you are not forced to do so. Remember that password-protection is only as secure as the password you choose.

Automatic Security Updates

Use Windows Update properly to ensure your Windows computer is free of critical vulnerabilities and to get future updates.

Anti-Virus Protection

New viruses, trojans, worms, etc. are discovered every day. These can be used by criminals to attack systems, steal personal information (credit card numbers, bank PINs), and other costly acts.

Email attachments, software downloads, and peer-to-peer file sharing

Email attachments containing viruses will normally be detected by your AntiVirus software. However, as new viruses are discovered daily,  it is wise to take care when viewing unexpected or suspect email attachments, and running software downloaded from unfamiliar websites. Be especially mindful when downloading software via peer-to-peer networks. A recent study has shown that nearly 50% of all programs available for download via a popular file sharing network contain viruses or trojans. If in doubt, contact the sender for verification, or don't open it.

Unsafe and untrusted websites

Some websites carry malware which, just by visiting them, may put your computer at risk. Be careful when you type a web address - often a typo can lead you to a different website masquerading as the one you expected. Your web browser may have built-in protection against untrusted websites, with settings that you can explore.

Other Computing Risks