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Best Practices

 In addition to using these ideas when conducting UofM business, all of these best practices can (and should!) be adopted in your personal digital life. Please feel free to share these ideas with your family and friends to keep them secure while online. (... Just don't share your passwords!)

Passwords

... are the keys to your digital kingdom. Protect them as you would the keys to your house or auto.

Don't share your passwords with anyone. (By the way, ITS will never ask for your password in assisting you with an issue.)

Long = strong. Create a passphrase rather than a password.

  • String together 3 or 4 random words.
  • Add a couple of numbers and special characters.
  • Then add a couple of characters to remind you what website it is for.

Avoid the obvious, like parts of your name, address, phone number, names of kids, spouse or pets.

Use a different password for each website.

Use a password manager app to keep track of them.


Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)

Provides an extra layer of security on your account in case the password is stolen or guessed.

MFA requires an additional means of identifying yourself like a text sent to your phone with a one-time code, a token with a passcode or a biometric signature like facial recognition or fingerprint. If your password should be cracked, the hacker still wouldn't be able to access your account unless he/she also has your phone, your fingerprint or your face ... which is quite unlikely.

It's a good idea to enable MFA on all accounts that offer it but especially on accounts involving any kind of financial transactions like banking, shopping, retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, Social Security, PayPal, Venmo etc.

MFA is your best friend in keeping your accounts secure. Consider this: without MFA enabled, the only thing between a crook and your money is the strength of your password!


Working From Home

Personal devices can be used for University business but it is the user's responsibility to make sure they are properly protected.

Properly protected devices must have:

  • Operating System (OS) and apps updated to latest version (Windows, MacOS, Office, Java, Flash, Acrobat etc.).
  • Security patches installed as soon as possible.
  • Updated anti-virus software running in the background. Some examples of anti-virus software are Windows Defender, Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky and Trend Micro.  And YES, Macs need protection too!  Macs are not immune to being hacked.
  • Windows 7 and Office 2013 are no longer being patched by Microsoft and therefore should not be used. If your devices can't accept newer software, then time to upgrade!
  • Catalina is the latest version of Mac OS. If your Mac can't accept the update to Catalina, time to upgrade!

If you're using a UofM issued device, don't let anyone else use it or load any software on it.

If you're using your own computer, log out of all applications and close all browser windows before allowing anyone else to use it.


Wi-Fi

Always use a VPN when off campus (while wired or wi-fi).  UofM provides Cisco AnyConnect to use while conducting UofM business. Instructions and downloads can be found here: https://www.memphis.edu/umtech/solutions/vpn.php.

Ensure your home Wi-Fi network is securely configured:

  • Change the default network name. Use a unique name that can't be identified as belonging to you or your house. Don't use your family name or address.
  • Change the default password. The usual password rules apply.
  • Use WPA3 (If available) or WPA2 security protocol. Don't use WEP or WPA protocols.

Look for the lock icon or https in the URL line to indicate secure browsing.