Tis The Season

December 3, 2015

This time of the year is known for the Flu, the common cold, holiday cheer and a lot of shopping. In the tech world, this is also a prime time for your computer to catch a digital Flu. An increase in online activity and credit card purchases as the holiday season closes in creates an ideal environment for online predators, scams and phishing.

Here are a couple of reminders and tips for surviving the tech Flu season:

1.System Updates and Antivirus: Campus systems are protected by automatic system updates and antivirus but like the Flu, there is still a chance your system can become infected. If your campus system becomes infected, please reach out to the Help Desk as soon as possible. For you home computer and devices, check to make sure that your computer’s antivirus is up to date and working. This is also a good time to run system updates to ensure you have the latest security patches.

2.When in doubt, throw it out: Links in emails, posts and text are often the ways cybercriminals try to steal your information or infect your devices. If you don’t recognize the sender and the email contains links and/or attachments, delete the email. If you do happen to open an attachment and it doesn’t feel right, contact the Help Desk ( (805) 493-3698 or helpdesk@callutheran.edu).

3.Use reputable vendors: When shopping online, use reputable online stores (Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Target, etc.). If you do choose to try a different website for purchases, do your research. Google can help you find out if the site is known for good business practices and could provide the same product for a lower cost. Check return policies in the event that the product you receive isn’t what you wanted.

4.Use Safe Payment Methods:  Credit Cards are generally the safest option because they provide buyers with the most protections. Buyers can receive full refunds if product isn’t delivered or isn’t the correct product. Avoid using cards that link to your checking or savings account.

5.Make sure your information is being encrypted: Many sites use secure sockets layer (SSL) to encrypt information. Indications that your information will be encrypted include a URL (the contents of the browser’s address bar) that begins with "https:" instead of "http:" and a padlock icon. If the padlock is closed, the information is encrypted. The location of the icon varies by browser; for example, it may be to the right of the address bar or at the bottom of the window. Some attackers try to trick users by adding a fake padlock icon, so make sure that the icon is in the appropriate location for your browser.

6.Keep Records: Print or save records of your online transactions including the product description and price. Compare your credit card statements with your purchases as you receive them and be on the lookout for charges that you don’t recognize.

CLUnet.edu sunset reminder:

Please notify all email contacts to start sending to your @callutheran.edu email address instead of @CLUnet.edu. For email subscriptions and e-lists, you might need to re-subscribe or modify your email address. This would also be a good time to unsubscribe from some lists that you are no longer interested in.

If you have questions about this subject or any other technical matter, please call the Help Desk at (805) 493-3698 or e-mail to helpdesk@callutheran.edu.

As a reminder, ITS staff will never ask you for your password.