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Good Security Practices
  1. Update anything you use or have on your system and use the “onion approach” when you think of security. Multiple layers is better than 1 layer. If one layer fails, you have other layers to help protect you and your system.

  2. Do not give people remote access to your machine.

  3. Use good password policies.

    Passwords should be 8-16 characters, including alphanumeric (letters AND numbers) characters, lower and upper case, special characters (shift and 1 through 0 or =!@#$%^&*()), and they should not be words found in the dictionary or your name, etc.

  4. Evaluate your security settings.

    Check the default settings in your software and adjust them if they are too permissive. Make sure to disable automatic downloads (except Microsoft updates). Some chat software offers the ability to limit interactions to only certain users, and you may want to take advantage of these restrictions.

  5. Be conscious of what information you reveal.

    Be wary of revealing personal information unless you know who you are really talking to. You should also be careful about discussing anything you or your employer might consider sensitive business information over public IM or chat services (even if you are talking to someone you know in a one-to-one conversation). Do not give others your real IP address, or other important information that can be used against you.

  6. Try to verify the identity of the person you are talking to if you aren`t sure it`s the person you think it is.

    In some forums and situations, the identity of the "person" you are talking to may not matter. However, if you need to have a degree of trust in that person, either because you are sharing certain types of information or being asked to take some action like following a link or running a program, make sure the "person" you are talking to is actually that person.

  7. Don`t believe everything you read.

    The information or advice you receive in a chat room or by IM may be false or, worse, malicious. Try to verify the information or instructions from outside sources before taking any action.

  8. Keep software up to date.

    This includes your operating system, antivirus software and definitions, chat software, your browser, your mail client, etc.
Last Updated: May 13th, 2005 - By: atomics
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