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Computer Security

Learning Objectives

  • Describe their role in ensuring and maintaining security
  • List best practices necessary to insure the physical security of commonly-used devices
  • Identify methods that are commonly used to protect software and data on corporate devices
  • Recognize the need for and approaches to ensuring security when online
  • List best practices when creating and using passwords for online services, local devices and services
  • Recognize the value of backing up data as a critical computer security measure

Available in English

35 minutes

Mobile Ready


An estimated 16.6 million people, representing 7% of all persons age 16 or older in the United States, experienced at least one incident of identity theft in 2012.

US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)


Technologies are often subject to threats from a variety of sources, and can jeopardize the work you do, and the content you create and save on your computer. These threats can take the form of external hackers attempting to break into information on your computers and online accounts. Threats can also involve a colleague who might accidentally or intentionally divulge sensitive information.

Since security breaches cannot always be monitored or detected by the IT department, the responsibility of ensuring computer security is jointly shared by the IT department and employees.

If you do not follow your company’s security protocols, or if you cause a breach of security, you may be subject to legal consequences. This often depends on the circumstances, the type and extent of data stolen, and the relevant state and federal laws. You should refer to your company’s policies and IT department when in doubt, or if you have any questions.

In general, your company’s computer security policies cover data that pertain to business-related information that is saved on company equipment. Your company usually does not protect your personal data. In some cases, your company may provide you with one or more mobile devices, so that you may continue your work while you’re outside the office, like an FOB, thumbdrive, or smartphone. In other cases, your company may allow you to use your personal mobile devices to do the company’s work or access the company’s resources.

For clarification on acceptable data and equipment use, as well as how to deal with computer security threats that affect these devices, consult with your company’s IT department and policies for proper compliance.

Common security threats:

  • Disconnecting the power while or without saving
  • Leaving written notes for everyone to see
  • Sharing passwords, and having weak passwords
  • Hitting “Reply all” in email
  • Unexpected hardware failure
  • Theft and fraud
  • Hacking
  • Viruses and malware
  • Power surges and natural disasters
  • Browsing or conducting transactions with unsecure parties on the web

Again, consult with your company’s policies and IT department for measures to protect yourself, your customers , and your company. If you detect a security breach, contact the IT department immediately.

Always protect your desktops, laptops, portable drives and other mobile devices:

  • Lock the room, whenever possible
  • Use computer locks
  • Don’t leave USB flash drives unattended
  • Use secure, password-protected USB flash drives
  • Keep tablets and smartphones out of sight and locked when not in use

When you are in public spaces or around people you do not know, keep an eye on your equipment. Also, lock the screen with a password to keep others from using your equipment in your absence.

Often, your computer’s security is jeopardized by factors beyond your control and anticipation. Power fluctuations often affect electronic equipment, and can cause grave, permanent damage if you do not take adequate precautions.

Beware of adverse weather conditions like floods or lightning in your surroundings. If lightning hits an electric pole or line, it can travel through the electrical system and destroy all of the devices that are plugged in. Water from rain, floods or other disasters can damage your equipment as well.

Sometimes, power issues can result from errors or problems at the power utility’s end. These problems can damage your equipment, and your data.

To keep this from happening, use appropriate power surge equipment at all times. Your IT department may already have adequate measures in place to protect against such situations. If you are unsure, consult with them.

Course Outline
  • Introduction and Employee Responsibilities
  • Device Protection
  • Software Protection
  • Online Security
  • Password Protection
  • Data Backup
Regulations
  • Section 1030 of Title 18 of the United State Code (18 U.S.C. §1030)