Mobile Computing Safety*

For our "always on the go" lives, it's important to remember a few things when using your mobile devices:

Public Wi-Fi

Your data is not safe when you use a public Wi-Fi network (any wireless network that allows you to join without a password or with a common password). Almost anything that goes across your screen can be seen by those around you. This includes those who may look over your shoulder, as well as anyone who may be "sniffing" network traffic. Someone "sniffing" network traffic can acquire any usernames or passwords that you may use or any data that you send over the internet, compromising your safety and security. Use secure networks, such as Elon's. Learn more about connecting to Elon's secure wireless network.

Your firewall

When you are at your office or at home, do you share files with others or print on a network printer? While these options make life simpler in safe environments, they open holes in your firewall. Before you connect wirelessly, make sure you are protected by a firewall. Call the Technology Service Desk at 336-278-5200 for help in setting up your firewall.

Secure sites

When logging in to a website, entering information into forms, or reading sensitive material, check to see that you are on a secure page. Look at the address bar in your browser. The web address for a regular, unsecured page will start with http. A secured page starts with https. Many browsers also have another way to tell if the page is secure. For example, the address bar might be green or there may be a small padlock in the bottom bar of your browser. Be familiar with how your browser designates a secure page, and watch for those signals.

What about Macs?

Apple computers are often considered to be safer and less prone to viruses. Whether or not Macs are less prone to viruses, information Mac users send over public wireless networks is just as visible as information from any other type of computing device. Mac users should take the same precautions as other users. Use a firewall, keep programs updated, and be careful of what you download.

Plug in when you can

Plug into a wall ethernet port when you can. Information that is transferred over wires is harder to intercept than air traffic.

Use the VPN (Virtual Private Network)

Use Elon's VPN when you are off campus. The VPN client uses secure encryption technology that helps to protect your information. Elon's VPN allows you to connect to the Elon network from any location and have full access to all network resources, such as servers, printers, your network storage, and the Library's electronic materials. Learn more about the VPN client.

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