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Welcome to the Pensacola State College Data Security Center!


Every day it seems like we're hearing about some new virus infecting the Internet, about a group of Hackers who have stolen a credit card company's database, about how a big website was "taken down," or about how somebody's identity was stolen because of spyware on his or her computer.  There are plenty of people on the Internet who are interested in stealing your data and personal information.  But, did you know that most Hackers are successful because of the mistakes of computer users such as you? That's right!  If you become the victim of a cyber crime it is highly likely you did something to help the hackers commit the crime! 

This website is provided by Pensacola State College Information Technology Services to help you more clearly understand the risks that you may face each day as you journey through cyber space, and to arm you with information that will help protect you, your computer, and your data.   The smart and aware surfer is the safe surfer.  The best action you can take to protect yourself and your data is to be cyber aware!

Data Security Reading Room

The Truth About Directory Web Sites

Privacy of personal information on the Internet should be a major concern for everyone.  However, the average Internet user seems more than willing to naively forgo personal privacy in favor of convenience and social acceptance.  Unaware Internet users constantly post bits of private information on personal web sites, social networking sites and message boards.  (See the article entitled "Social Networking:  Be Careful.")    Given that reality, a host of "directory" websites are springing up that provide aggregated information on individuals, making it even easier for "undesirables" to obtain your personal details, including your name, address, age, a map of your neighborhood, your hobbies, etc.    

Most  of these web sites, such as whitepages.com and spokeo.com,  will allow you to request removal of personal information.  Nevertheless, when Internet surfers visit these sites they are often surprised at the amount of personal information they find posted about themselves.    Be aware, though, that these sites do nothing more than collect and combine information that, more than likely, you provided to other online sites!

If you are concerned about your personal privacy then don't use social networking sites, don't fill out online forms, and don't provide personal details anywhere online.  If you do choose to use social networking sites, message boards, etc., then you should expect every bit of information you provide to be permanently available to the public.  Ultimately, the burden of your personal privacy is yours. 

Here are links to important Pensacola State College Information Technology policies. It is important that you familiarize yourself with these policies to help safe-guard Pensacola State College data.


Pensacola State College Acceptable Use Policy
Pensacola State College Privacy Policy
Social Security Number Collection and Use

Frequent Questions

+ Anti-virus
+ What is the best anti-virus on the market?
There are numerous anti-virus products on the market that will do an adequate job of protecting your computer.  Avast and AVG are among the more popular brands that offer a slimmed-down free anti-virus product.
+ How often should my anti-virus definitions file be updated?
Anti-virus definitions files should be updated at least once a day on home computers.  It is not uncommon for anti-virus definitions on enterprise computers to be updated three or four times a day, or even every hour!
+ File Sharing
+ Is file sharing really a security risk for my computer?
YES!  There's a nice article in the "Reading Room" that explains the reasons!
+ Passwords
+ Should I give my password to my supervisor?
NO!  Passwords should never be shared, not even with your supervisor.  Supervisors need to understand that there is no benefit to them knowing the passwords of their staff.  Lost or forgotten passwords can easily be reset by contacting your IT department.  
+ Spyware
+ How do I remove spyware from my computer?

This is not an easy question to answer.  Some spyware is very difficult to remove and methods for removal vary according to the type of spyware with which your computer has been infected.  The web sites of most anti-virus vendors contain instructions for removing specific types of spyware.  Be advised, though, that different anti-virus vendors may have different names for the same spyware!

The difficulties inherent in spyware removal make it all the more important that you protect your computer with good anti-virus/anti-spyware software that is kept up-to-date!

+ Workstation/Laptop Security
+ How do I lock my workstation when I walk away from it?
On Windows computers you can lock your workstation by hitting and holding the "Windows" key (between the left Ctrl and Alt buttons) while pressing L.  That is, "Windows-L" will do the trick!
+ I found a USB flash drive! Should I be worried about what's on it?
Absolutely!  A common method for hackers to infect your computer is to "lose" a USB flash drive that contains a virus or spyware.  Plugging in a found USB flash drive to see what it contains is NOT recommended!
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(850) 484-1000 or TOLL FREE (888) 897-3605 | Questions? Email Pensacola State College| In Case of an Emergency Call (850) 484-2500
Students Living Outside Florida Important Notice Regarding Distance Learning

Pensacola State College does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, gender/sex, age, religion,
marital status, disability, sexual orientation or genetic information in its educational programs, activities or employment. For inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies,
contact the Associate Vice President of Institutional Diversity at (850) 484-1759, Pensacola State College, 1000 College Blvd., Pensacola, Florida 32504.

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