Why is it important to secure my account and computer?


  1. Why is it important to have a secure password?
  2. What if the material on my account is not confidential?
  3. Why do my passwords expire?
  4. What if I have to write down my password?
  5. What can I do to make my computer safer?

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Having an insecure password, clicking on an unknown email attachment or not installing updates could make it possible for someone to:

  • Read all your email or messages
  • View your grades
  • Change your course schedule
  • Read or change anything on your computer
  • Read or change anything accessed from your computer
  • Turn on your computer’s microphone and listen in on conversations
  • Use your computer for cyber crime (for which you may be blamed)

The University of Idaho network is scanned approximately 450,000 times a day by individuals outside of the university network. This averages to be about 50-60 scans on every computer on the network every day. This amount of scanning is comparable to a burglar checking your door 50-60 times a day trying to break-in. The security of your account and computer is largely dependent on how your co-workers and fellow students use their computer and accounts.

Why is it important to have a secure password?

The University of Idaho relies on highly secure computing systems for everyday work. This includes sending and receiving email, registering for classes, paying for classes online, sharing documents and files with co-workers and many more critical activities. Having a secure password not only allows you to be safe when computing at the UI but also keeps your account from being used for illegal activities without your knowledge. 

What if the material on my account is not confidential?

You may not consider your email, class registration or work activities confidential. However, many security breaches can involve things like deletion or corruption of data or mass emails containing questionable material sent from a compromised account. When a single account is compromised on a system, it increases the potential to have all accounts on the system compromised. Since you are responsible for your own account and password, you may be considered responsible for illegal break-in attempts to other accounts due to your account being insecure.

Why do my passwords expire?

If you are not using push notification authentication through Duo, your password is only good for a set amount of time. To ensure the security of critical services at the university, we have implemented password expiration on accounts using less secure authentication methods. When a password expires, you are notified during log in to obtain a new password. This was primarily done to make password “cracking,” or guessing, more difficult, but it was also done to comply with independent state auditors on their recommendation to expire passwords.

How do I remember my password?

It is better to have a secure password that may be a little more difficult to remember than an easy to guess password. However, this comes with the problem of having to memorize the complex password. Rather than writing it down or just storing it in a document on your computer, you can use a password manager to keep all of your passwords safe in one place. 

What can I do to make my computer safer?

  • Use secure passwords for all of your accounts.
  • Install Antivirus software and keep it up to date. Visit our AntiVirus software page to learn more.
  • Install personal firewall software. Personal firewall software stops attempts from outside computers to connect to services on your machine (that you may not know you are running). Windows has a built in firewall that we recommend you enable. Contact your TSP or Local Support if you're an employee, or the Student Technology Center if you're a student.
  • Do not click on unknown email attachments and report any suspicious emails your recieve to abuse@uidaho.edu
  • Keep your operating system up-to-date and applications. Visit your vendor’s update sites often to check for security patches or allow applications to check for updates.
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Article ID: 203
Wed 12/13/17 3:07 PM
Tue 5/14/24 11:31 AM

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