The University of Texas at Austin

Security Awareness

Three Easy Steps to Computer Safety

Use BevoWare security software to protect your computer and data.

  1. Anti-Virus
    Protect your computer from viruses, spam, and other attacks. Download anti-virus software at no cost from the ITS BevoWare Web site.
  2. Firewall
    A firewall protects the university network and your computer from hackers. Again, download the Firewall from the BevoWare site—at no additional cost.
  3. Updates
    Update your operating system and security software regularly. Set your computer to auto-update with the latest patches and security updates.

In addition to anti-virus and security software, BevoWare includes Web browsers, e-mail applications, media and file viewers and much more.

Safety Counts When Using Instant Messaging

Tips for securing your personal information and your computer when using IM.

Instant messaging (IM) is fun, it’s fast and it’s dangerous. IM is also quickly becoming the leading method for spreading malicious code and viruses on the Web.

Here are some basic tips to help keep you and your computer safe when instant messaging.

  • Create a strong password for your IM account. Use upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation marks.
  • Never accept files or click links in messages you weren’t expecting. Computer viruses spread through IM attachments and through messages asking you to click a link. It’s always a good idea to check with the sender outside of IM to confirm such a message is legitimate.
  • Your IM conversations are as private as a postcard; don’t say anything you wouldn’t want someone else to read. IMs are easy targets for hackers. If you’re using a wireless network, be doubly careful. Wireless networks, especially at “Hot Spots”, are often insecure and your messages can be easily intercepted by strangers.
  • Be smart about your screen name. It shouldn’t be too close to your real name and you should always keep it private.  If you post your IM screen name online, you can be targeted with unwanted or harassing messages. You are also setting yourself for spim, the IM equivalent of spam.
  • Choose a screen name that isn’t too close to your real name. Also, keep your screen name private. If you post your IM screen name online, you are setting yourself up as a target for spim, the IM equivalent of spam. It’s also a good idea to avoid having a gender-specific screen name. This can also target you for unwanted or harassing messages.
  • Be suspicious. The Internet affords great anonymity;  it’s difficult to know if the person you’re “talking” with is actually who they claim to be. Another good reason to be careful is because some viruses can send instant messages to everyone on an IM contact list. You may think an incoming message is from a trusted friend when it was actually created by a virus
  • Never provide any personal or sensitive information when using IM. Consider information such as as your name, location, passwords, PIN, Social Security number or credit card information as off-limits.
  • Check your security settings. Disable settings that allow automatic file or attachment downloads and be sure your default security settings are strong. If you can restrict your IM sessions only to users you invite, that’s a good precaution to take. 
  • Make sure you're using an updated version of your IM software. The latest versions of your IM software will have the most up-to-date security capabilities. Stay up-to-date to better protect your computer against viruses and spyware.
  • Remember that your IM client is only as secure as your own computer. Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date. Check the BevoWare Web site regularly for new patches and updates.