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titleSecurity Awareness Tips and Guidelines for Everyone
  • Be aware of online scams - don't get lured by phishing!  Report any attempts to get your username, password, or other personal information to Don't share your password, and never enter your password on a website without making sure you are in the right place. Appalachian ITS will never ask for your password!
  • Use Good Passwords and Keep them Safe: Use passwords with letters, numbers, and symbols - for each account. If you need help remembering your passwords, use a password vault like KeePass. 
  • Review your Social Media Privacy settings - customize your privacy settings and think about what you share.
  • Don't link your social media accounts together - one hacked account gives the hacker access to all linked accounts.
  • Be aware of online scams - don't get lured by phishing!
  • Log Out before you walk away from a public computer - log out of your MountaineerApps account and the public computer.
  • Keep clean machines and back up your files -Make sure your device and software are set to install regular updates and use Antivirus software. Back up your files with an external device and/or Mountaineer Drive.
  • Use https - whenever you transmit confidential information to a website.
  • Be careful where you click:
    • Use official sites like Google Play Store to download apps, and review what they want to access.
    • Don't open questionable email attachments or click on ads on websites.

titleAdditional Security Awareness Tips and Guidelines for Faculty and Staff

In addition to the security tips outlined above, Faculty and Staff:

  • Keep your office computer on 1 night during the week to get IT updates.
  • Lock your computer when you step away.
  • Know ourGuidelines for Storing & Sharing University Information
  • Use uDesk -- a remote virtual Windows desktop that runs on your computer -- when appropriate.  If you visit a site with malware in uDesk, your computer won't be infected.
  • Back up your files to uStor P: drive.
  • Use a secure wireless connection - Use "asu" secure wireless network, or use ASU VPN when you connect to public wireless.

titleCampus Security Tools
  • Remote Access Tools

  • Expand
    titleData Encryption

    titleDefining Data Encryption?

    Data encryption is a method that can allow you to safeguard electronic information by preventing unauthorized access to files. Encryption software converts "plain text" data that can easily be read into encrypted data via complex mathematical operations and a unique key. Encryption keys work similarly to physical keys to doors or a locked filing cabinet. Without the key, gaining access to encrypted data is often extremely difficult. Most often encryption keys take the form of passphrases where only individuals who have the passphrase can unencrypt and view the data.

    titleIssues Related to Data Encryption

    Access to encrypted data is dependent on your key (see above), making it possible that if you lose your key you may lose access to your data. It is very important to consider how you might securely back up and protect your encryption key when considering encryption.

    titleReasons for Using Data Encryption

    Most often when a computing device is lost or stolen, the data on the device is unencrypted and therefore easy to access (even if the device is password protected). However, using encryption protects sensitive data and keeps it private. 

    Another common use of encryption is in creating encrypted containers (more below) so that even if a computer is infected with malware there is an additional layer of protection that may thwart intruders from accessing confidential or sensitive data.

    titleDifferent Data Encryption Methods

    Full Disk Encryption is used to safeguard all data stored on a hard drive (including the operating system). 

    File Level Encryption uses a single key or multiple keys to encrypt a single file or series of files only.

    Container-Based Encryption provides encryption of a container file that internally contains other files that can be read (i.e. encrypted zip file).

    titleHow to Encrypt Your Files

    Full Disk Encryption is used to safeguard all data stored on a hard drive (including the operating system). 

    File Level Encryption uses a single key or multiple keys to encrypt a single file or series of files only.

    Container-Based Encryption provides encryption of a container file that internally contains other files that can be read (i.e. encrypted zip file).

    titleEncrypting Personal Devices

    titleCreating and Managing Passwords

    Your data encryption protection is only as secure as your encryption key. Use App State’s Tips for Creating a Secure Password. Also, consider using a password manager tool such as KeePass which securely stores passwords.

  • Spirion
  • Secure File Exchange (FileShare)

titleSecurity Resources


Mac OS/X


Security and Awareness Training

titleAvoid Phishing Attempts

What is Phishing?
Attempts by cybercriminals, nation states, or hacktivists to lure you into giving away personal information to gain access to accounts or to infect your machine with malware & viruses are called “phishing.” Phishing attempts can happen through a variety of channels, including email, social media, or text messages, and can compromise security & lead to the theft of personal & financial data. Highly targeted attacks on groups or individuals are known as “spear phishing.”

What tactics are used in phishing attempts?
Phishing messages can come from hijacked accounts of people you know, making them hard to distinguish from real messages. Additionally, cybercriminals commonly use infected documents or PDF attachments as vectors for their phishing attempts. Another common trick attackers use is trying to get victims to sign in on a fake login page where their usernames and passwords can be stolen.

How do you avoid phishing attempts?
Phishing attempts can often get through spam filters and security software that you may already have in place, so stay vigilant and trust your instincts. Keep an eye out for things like unexpected urgency or a wrong salutation. Think twice about clicking a link or opening a document that seems suspicious. Double-check that every URL where you enter your password looks legitimate. And if anything raises doubt, report the communication to

titleBack-Up Your Data

Protect your valuable work, music, photos & other digital information by making an electronic copy & storing it safely. If you have a copy of your data and your device falls victim to ransomware or other cyber threats, you will be able to restore the data from a backup.

Back up your data regularly, and make sure your anti-virus software is always up to date. Several options are available for backing up your data, including:

  • Back-Up To an External Drive
  • Back-Up Over the Internet
  • Use a Cloud Storage Service

titleBe Careful of What You Plug Into Your Computer

Be conscientious of what you plug into your computer. Malware can be spread through infected flash drives, external hard drives, and even smartphones.

titleBe Careful When Clicking on Links in Email

Always be careful when clicking on attachments or links in emails. If it’s unexpected or suspicious for any reason, don’t click on it. Double-check the URL of the website the link takes you to bad actors who will often take advantage of spelling mistakes to direct you to a harmful domain. When in doubt, forward the message to

titleKeep a Clean Machine

Keep all software on internet-connected devices (including personal computers, smartphones & tablets) current to reduce the risk of infection from ransomware and malware.

Why is updated software important?
Running out-of-date software can put you at risk of security vulnerabilities that hackers seek out & exploit. Security experts agree that keeping your software - including Internet browsers, operating systems, plugins & document editors - up-to-date on internet-connected devices is fundamental cybersecurity practice & helps prevent malware infections that could compromise your devices & accounts.

Why is preventing malware important?
Malware can take many forms, including capturing keystrokes and passwords when they are entered, ransomware, which can encrypt files and demand payment to release them, and using devices to send out spam or participate in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. If your device is infected, sharing files may also infect others.

How do you keep software up to date?
When you receive a notification that a software update is available, install it as soon as possible. Knowing your programs and operating system is important. Some programs, like reputable antivirus/security software and some web browsers, including Chrome, automatically update. Mobile operating systems, apps, and other critical software may require your action to update.

titleMonitor Your Accounts

Be sure to monitor your accounts, both financial and social, for any suspicious activity. If you see something unfamiliar, it could be a sign that you’ve been compromised.

titleNever Leave Your Devices Unattended

Never leave your devices unattended. If you need to leave your computer, phone, or tablet for any length of time (no matter how short) lock it up so no one can use it while you’re gone.

titleOwn Your Online Presence

Information about you, such as purchase history or location, has value (just like money). Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it is collected by apps, websites, and all connected devices. Set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It is OK to limit how and with whom you share information.

Share With Care
Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it, and how it might affect you and others.

titlePractice Good Password Management

Practice good password management. Use a strong mix of characters, and don’t use the same password for multiple sites. Don’t share your password with others, don’t write it down, and definitely don’t write it on a post-it note attached to your monitor.

titleProtect Mobile Devices

Why should you secure your mobile devices?
Mobile phones & tablets contain a wealth of personal data, including emails, contacts, schedules, locations, and direct access to apps. When your mobile device is lost or stolen, your data goes with it, making any information contained on the device vulnerable.

How do you secure your mobile devices?
The first layer of mobile security is locking your device with a passcode, Touch ID features, or other biometrics. In case your phone is ever lost or stolen, make sure you’re aware of the different offerings that exist to help you remotely locate or lock your device, or wipe data from it. Some of these features may be built in by the operating system or carrier (They may albo be available via an app.) Your systems administrator might also have specific rules to follow if you lose a work device.

titleUse Caution with Sensitive Browsing

Sensitive browsing, such as banking or shopping, should only be done on a device that belongs to you, on a network that you trust. Whether it’s a friend’s phone, a public computer, or a café’s free WiFi, your data could be copied or stolen.

titleUse Trusted Security Tools

Why use security tools?
Many online service providers offer useful settings and tools to help you manage your online presence, keep your data secure, and get the most out of the services you use. For example, strong authentication is rarely turned on by default but is offered by many online services for users that want an extra layer of protection on their account.

How do security checkups work?
Guided security checkups help you understand the security settings available, and give you confidence that you are using the strongest options available. And managing your notification settings, including alerts when your location is being used or when new information about you or a new photo is posted online, can help you manage your online presence.

titleUse Unique Passwords

Why are unique passwords important?
Password reuse for multiple accounts is one of the most common ways accounts are hijacked. When passwords are reused, having your credentials stolen for one account means hackers gain access to other accounts that use the same login details.

What makes for a strong password?
In addition to being unique, security experts agree that a strong password is at least 12 characters long, and contains a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Maintaining strong and unique passwords will decrease the risk of password guessing based on commonly used passwords, information about you that might be publicly available, or password-cracking tools that hackers use.

How do you manage better and unique passwords?
It is really hard to remember a lot of strong and unique passwords. Thankfully, there are a lot of tools out there to help. Using a password manager only requires you to remember one master password to access your other passwords. If needed, you can write passwords down on a piece of paper and store them in a secure location away from your computer, but be careful not to store passwords right on your computer.

titleYou are a Target

Realize that you are an attractive target to hackers. Don’t ever say, “It won’t happen to me.” You may not realize it, but you are a target for cybercriminals. Your computer, your mobile devices, your accounts, and your information all have tremendous value to cybercriminals around the world.

titleTraining and Awareness Resources

titleReporting Security Awareness Concern

For policies, standards, guidelines & tips see our
To get help with your personal devices at our Technology Support Center 
You can enter a support ticket at
If you have any information security concerns or questions you can email,  contact your ITS Consultant, call the ITS Support Help Desk at (828) 262-6266, or visit the Technology Support Center in Room 140 of Anne Belk Hall (Exterior entrance located directly across from Rankin Science)