How to protect our computers, network, and sensitive information

UNC Health Care's Information Services Division has many technologies in place to protect our computers from malware infection, but the person operating the computer is often our last line of defense. Learn more about ways to protect UNC Health Care computers from malware and how to protect your sensitive information.

There are many individuals and organizations whose primary goal is to steal sensitive information and use it for their own financial gain. Their most commonly used tools are malware infections and stealing user's login credentials. Criminals are constantly coming up with new ways to trick computer users into assisting them in getting their malware onto our computers.

UNC Health Care's Information Services Division (ISD) has many technologies in place to protect our computers from malware infection. However, the person operating the computer is often our last line of defense. If that person is careless, they can inadvertently assist in the infection process and/or give the criminals their login information. Below are several things to always keep in mind during your daily use of UNC Health Care computers and other technologies.

  • Email is one of the most common methods that we use to communicate in both our work and personal lives. It is also one of the primary vectors that criminals use to fool us into assisting them in infecting our computers. In order to best protect our UNC Health Care computers, do not use your UNC Health Care email address for non-work-related activities. This can cause you to be less suspicious of certain types of malicious emails you receive.
  • Per our policy, occasional personal use of UNCHCS computers and the internet while at work is permitted. A common activity is checking your personal email. Do not download files from or click on links within these emails while on the UNC Health Care network. Malicious links and attachments in your personal email can cause an infection of the computer you use at work and that can lead to a compromise of sensitive information.
  • Do not reuse your assigned UNC Health Care user ID and corresponding password for accounts on other websites. Some websites do not transmit nor store your login credentials in a secure manner. If your UNC Health Care credentials end up in the hands of criminals, they will be able to access any and all data that you have access to.
  • Do not install software on the UNC Health Care computer that you use. Any software that you need to perform your work must be installed by End Users Services. Fake software downloads is another way criminals fool us into helping them infect our computers. Often when you perform an internet search for software, many of the results will lead to a download that is malicious.
  • Do not connect removable storage media (USB sticks/drives, media cards, CDs, or DVDs) of unknown origin to the computer you use. It seems strange, but leaving malware laden USB sticks around parking lots and entrances to businesses is a method often used by criminals to infect computers. If you aren't 100 percent sure of the origin of the storage media, do not connect it.
  • If you receive a warning notice that your computer is infected or otherwise in need of technical support, do not call any phone number provided or otherwise respond to the notice by any other means of communication. The two most common scenarios are: (1) you receive a phone call where the person tells you to go to a particular support site or (2) a pop-up warning on your computer screen instructs you to call technical support. In all instances, the only call you should make is to the UNC Health Care Service Desk.

DO contact the UNC Health Care Service Desk at 984-974-4357 whenever you are unsure of what to do.

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