Security

Security is something many people tend to forget or try to be bothered by as little as possible. Nevertheless it is of paramount importance. It’s probably not the first time you’ve heard this and for good reason: we keep repeating it regardless. We seriously cannot stress enough how vital it is to keep your system and your data protected. Please take the following into account…

When the security of your laptop or PC is not up to scratch, you’re running a huge risk of getting infected by a virus, trojan or other malware. When that happens, you could lose all your data in an instant or your personal information (including access to your bank account) can be obtained by someone else. Thus trying to prevent infection is your first priority!

There is something you really need to consider: the network of the TU Delft is a prime target for people with bad intentions. They know it’s a very fast network and that there are lots of laptops that aren’t maintained by system administration professionals. Consequently security and good protection is of more importance than ever:

  1. Keep your operating system and software up-to-date.
    This ensures you have the latest patches for any known vulnerabilities. Use the automatic update function that most software provides;
  2. Use anti-virus software and a firewall from a known and trusted source.
    Don’t google for freeware security software. Search results for that type of query are prone to lead you to malware / hijack-ware. Ask for professional advice when in doubt;
  3. Never click on ads or pop-ups in your web browser that tell you your system is at risk or infected!
    As a matter of fact, if a link looks weird or suspicious (or if you are unsure) don’t click it… period;
  4. Be careful when installing new software.
    Make sure that you know the programs you’re installing are safe and trusted. Read each screen carefully during the installation process: haphazardly clicking ‘Next’ or ‘OK’ to speed up the process is a surefire way to get yourself stuck with a bunch of unwanted toolbars and add-ons.

When the basics are set up, you need to be aware of other risks as well:

  • Make sure you use strong passwords for your accounts.
  • Never use the same password for more than one website/service.
  • Never share information on your accounts with other people.
  • Think before you click: can the website or link be trusted?
  • Be aware of scams and phishing in email or websites.
Xkcd password strength comic

Password Strength (from XKCD)

We recommend to use a password manager to keep track of passwords for various websites and -services. Examples are: LastPass and KeePass. It is best however to make an exception for sensitive information. Don’t rely on a password manager for your online banking, DigiD, etc.

The final step is to protect yourself from data loss in case your security measures fail, you’re confronted with hardware failure (hard disks can easily break) or your laptop gets stolen. Create backups regularly.

Useful links

You may wonder how to do all this. To assist you with setting up a good security package, we’ve listed some useful links to websites that can help you:

Backups:

Below we’ve listed security software known to perform adequately and play nice with our network and printing services. For anti-virus we suggest going for licensed software. Single one-year licenses are already available for €20 if you purchase through Surfspot. Performance of anti-virus programs are prone to change: you can check av-comparatives.org to see how well most common virus scanners protect your computer.

Recommended anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software:

  • Firewall: Windows 7 / 8.1 built-in
  • Anti-virus (licensed): ESET NOD32 or F-Secure (educational licenses through Surfspot)
  • Anti-virus (free alternative): Avira
  • Anti-spyware: MalwareBytes Anti-Malware or SuperAntiSpyware (free)
  • Never install and activate more than one virus scanner and one firewall application. If you want to scan a file using a different virus scanner you could consider VirusTotal, which allows you to submit files to an online service that uses several scanners to check your file.
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