Ten Ways to Protect Your Identity on Campus
The September issue of the SANS Institute's security newsletter OUCH! carried the following ten safety tips. They reinforce the other messages in this edition of Secure IT! and provide a nice summary.
Lock your door. This is the single most important way to keep your computer secure.
Mark your property in a very visible, permanent way. Just as would-be thieves are often deterred by homes bearing "Protected by ... " signs, so is a computer thief more likely to go for an unmarked laptop.
Don't assume your desktop computer is safe. Invest in some inexpensive cables designed to tether the CPU to something immovable in the room.
Use password protection. Adjust your computer settings to prompt you for a password anytime the computer is used. And change that password from time to time.
Don't reveal too much. Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook may ask for your birth date, but birth dates are a boon to identity thieves. Likewise, do not reveal any other personal information on these public sites, or in response to any email requests for your Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other personal information, even if it appears to be from a familiar-sounding company.
Keep thorough records. If your laptop is stolen, can you provide a full description for the police? Write down your computer's make, model, color, and most importantly, the serial number. You might also need this information in case you want to file an insurance claim.
Install a tracking device. Use a GPS tracking device that runs invisibly on the computer to relocate the stolen property.
Use a multi-layered security approach. MyLaptopGPS, for example, offers six layers of protection, including permanent tagging, GPS tracking, covert data recovery, remote data deletion, stolen property tracing, and property registration, for $10 per month per computer. Other GPS tracking devices can be purchased individually for $50 to $400.
Start shredding (digitally shredding, that is). Use software, such as Identity Finder, to search and preview the personal data on your computer, including credit card numbers, Social Security number(s), birth dates, tax returns and financial aid documents.
Contact your college's IT department about network security. Many colleges provide security software or other services free to their students. Before you purchase any computer protection system, check with the IT department of the college to ensure that system is compatible with the college's network.
* http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/10-ways-to-protect-laptop-credit-card-info-1282.php. See also: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/protecting-against-identity-theft-on-campus-1282.php