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Information Security

Information Security is the protection of the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information systems and data. PCC promotes information security through user awareness, appropriate business practices, and implementation of robust security technologies. 

Students and employees should protect their computer systems on- and off-campus by following good information security practices.  Employees: access the Information Technology section of the PCC Intranet to learn more about information security business practices and technologies.

Your Passwords

Your passwords are sensitive information, guard them well.  Anyone who has your password and your username can assume your identity.  Whenever you create a password, make it unique to what you are logging in to. 

Don't make it easy for hackers!  Strong passwords cannot easily be cracked by password cracking software.  Learn how to create strong passwords -- ones that you can actually remember too!

User Awareness

Spam, Phishes, & Scams are attempts to deprive the victim of money or valuable information such as account passwords, social security numbers, bank account numbers, etc. A good rule of thumb is to never provide confidential information to a third party (via e-mail, telephone call, etc) when that third party made contact with you.

  • Avoid sending confidential information over e-mail.
  • Avoid opening email or attachments from unknown sources.
  • Log on to the official website, instead of clicking any links in an e-mail.
  • Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the email to verify if the email is genuine.

If you receive an email or alert that you think is suspicious you can check to see if it is real or not at these sites.

Home Security

Computer Security: Here are some guides and resources for helping you secure your home computer.  At a minimum you should be running Anti-virus and Anti-spyware software that is updated daily.  You should also apply all patches for your Operating System and installed applications as they are released by the manufacturers.

  • The CERT® Program center at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a good guide on home network security.
  • OnGaurdOnline.gov provides practical tips to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal Information. 

Mobile Devices: How secure is your smart phone or laptop? Learn more about security steps for these devices in “Ten Steps to Secure Your Mobile Device”, which includes US-CERT recommendations as well as links to higher education resources, industry resources, and recent articles.

Safe Web Practices: The best defense against spyware and other unwanted software is not to download it in the first place. Here are a few helpful tips that can protect you from downloading software that you don't want:

  1. Only download programs from web sites you trust. If you're unsure whether to trust a program you are considering downloading, type the name of the program into SpywareGuide to see if anyone has reported that it contains spyware. You can also try entering the name of the program into your favorite search engine for more information.
  2. Read all security warnings, license agreements, and privacy statements associated with any software you download.
  3. Never click "agree" or "OK" to close a window! Instead, click the red x in the corner of the window or press the Alt + F4 buttons on your keyboard to close a window.
  4. Be wary of popular "free" music and movie file-sharing programs, and be sure you clearly understand all of the software packaged with those programs.

What's your Spyware Awareness IQ?

Now that you know a little bit more about how to prevent and get rid of spyware, test your new-found skills with this OnGuard Online quiz!