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Laptops and PCs at home

IT security at home

Many people take the security of the Council’s IT systems for granted, but are you aware you could be the weak link if you access our systems from a home laptop or PC….

  • Do you have regularly updated Anti-Virus software installed?
  • Do you have automatic updates enabled?
  • Do you have a firewall installed?
  • Do you have secure wireless access?
  • Do you filter inappropriate websites?

If you have answered 'no' (or 'don’t know') to any question, then read on…..

Anti-Virus Software

Malicious software (Malware) is becoming increasingly advanced in detection evasion techniques, so a modern, regularly updated anti-virus product is a must to ensure a clean running system. Without such protection, you may be sending out personal information (Usernames, Passwords, Credit Card details) without realising.

There are a few Anti-Virus solutions available which are free for home use (e.g. AVG and Avast) (*).

Automatic Updates

Operating system manufacturers (e.g. Microsoft, Apple) regularly release updates to resolve any security weaknesses found within their software. Quite often the vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to access your machine without your permission, or knowledge!

Turning on automatic updates will help prevent such activity taking place.

Firewalls

Firewalls prevent would-be hackers from accessing your machine and data.. They restrict the ‘visibility’ of your machine on the internet and are essential if you tend to use mobile broadband, or don’t have a hardware firewall/router combination.

Free for home use solutions are available for download (e.g. Zone Alarm, Comodo) (*)

Secure Wireless

If you use wireless within the home, you should ensure that the access point (router) is secure, and that all traffic is encrypted to prevent other users accessing your network / internet connection.

Within the router settings, you should look for settings that mention WPA or WEP. If your hardware supports WPA (PCs and routers), then this should be the protection of choice, otherwise WEP should be used but unfortunately this is a less secure option which can bypassed fairly easily.

Inappropriate websites

Whilst the internet is an amazing resource, unfortunately it has a dark side containing millions of pages of inappropriate and dangerous content. This is a particular concern if the PC is used by the family.

Web Content filtering will assist by preventing access to ‘blacklisted’ sites, or those that identify themselves as adult-related content.

Free solutions are available for home use (e.g. K9webprotection) (*)


For more information see the Get Safe Online website.


(*) The software products listed are examples of available solutions only, they are not endorsed by IT Services.

 

Hantsnet Mobile Service on personal smartphones

Security for personal smartphones

If you use the Hantsnet Mobile Service on your personal smartphone, you agree to the following security rules - make sure you follow them!

  • Set up a password or passcode to access the device.

  • Update settings so that your phone auto-locks within 10 minutes of inactivity.

  • Never give your username, password or any of the server connection information to anyone including other staff or IT support teams.
    (IT will never ask for this information. This information must never be entered anywhere other than your device local setup.)

  • If your device is lost or stolen you must provide full and prompt details to Hampshire County Council IT Helpdesk.
    (HCC cannot be held responsible for any loss of data if they are required to initiate a remote wipe due to a device being lost or stolen).

  • If you change your handset, phone number or phone contract you will need to advise HCC with updated information by completing the application form again.

  • Devices must synchronise directly with the corporate email system with no access through third party systems or applications.
    You should not have to enter your username, password or server details anywhere other than in your phone's set up screens (this includes any web pages you may encounter on the phone).

You will need to consult your user manual or contact your provider for information on setting up a password or passcode to access your device and setting up 'auo-lock' (if you have an iPhone, see separate guidance on security).

Warning Remember that you are responsible for the data on your device if it is lost or stolen.