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Student & Employee Best Practices


Passwords

Drexel University Password Policy

  • All system-level passwords (e.g., root, enable, NT admin, application administration accounts, etc.) must be changed every 30 days.
  • All user-level passwords (e.g., email, Web, desktop computer, etc.) must be changed at least every 63 days.
  • User accounts that have system-level privileges granted through group memberships or programs such as "sudo" must have a unique password from all other accounts held by that user.
  • Passwords must not be inserted into email messages or other forms of electronic communication.

Guidelines for Secure Passwords

Weak passwords have the following characteristics:

  • The password contains fewer than eight characters.
  • The password is a word found in a dictionary (English or foreign).
  • The password is a common usage word such as: names of people, things, pets; computer terms and names; organization, place or event names; birthdays and personal information and word or number patterns.

Strong passwords have the following characteristics:

  • Contain both upper and lower case characters (e.g., a-z, A-Z)
  • Have digits and punctuation characters as well as letters e.g. 0-9, !@#$%^&*()_+|~-=\`{}[]:;'><?,./)
  • Are at least seven alphanumeric characters long.
  • Are not a word in any language, slang, dialect, jargon, etc.
  • Are not based on personal information, names of family, etc.

Use this password strength checker to see how secure your passwords are.

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Accounts

You are the first line of defense against account compromise.

  • Practice strong password management.
  • Never share your password.
  • Update your password at least annually.
  • Log out of public workstations before departing.
  • Beware of "Phishing" scams. Drexel will never request your account information via email.
  • Change your password immediately and contact accounts@drexel.edu if you suspect your account has been compromised.

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Operating System Updates

Protect your computer from remote compromise by regularly applying critical OS patches.

Microsoft Windows Update

Critical Updates: Manual Windows

  • Windows Update is included in the Windows Control panel.
  • Click on Start > Control Panel > Windows Update or Start > All Programs > Windows Update.
  • Click on "Check for Updates." If a box comes up asking you to trust Microsoft, then click "Yes."
  • Click on "Review" and install updates.
  • Click "Install Now" to install the selected updates.
  • Click "Accept" to any windows that come up.
  • When they are finished, click "OK" to restart the computer.
  • After the machine reboots, repeat steps 1 through 6 until there are no more critical updates left.

Critical Updates: Automatic Windows

  • Click on Start > Control Panel > Windows Update.
  • Click on "Change Settings" link.
  • In the drop down box under Important updates, select "Install updates automatically."
  • Select the installation frequency and time, such as every day at 3:00 AM.
  • Place a check mark in "Recommended Updates," "Who can install updates," and "Microsoft Updates for other Microsoft products."

Software Updates - Manual macOS

  • Click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update....
  • Wait for the list of available updates to appear
  • Anything that said "Security Update" or "macOS Update" should be selected; if it isn't, then click the checkbox to select it.
  • Click the "Install" button near the bottom right corner.
  • You'll be prompted to enter your password.
  • If prompted, restart your computer after the updates install.

Software Updates - Automatic macOS

  • Click the Apple menu > System Preferences....
  • Under System, click "Software Update."
  • Click the checkbox in front of "Check for Updates" and select "Daily" from the drop-down list.
  • Click the checkbox to "Download important updates in the background."
  • Click the "System Preferences" menu, then "Quit."

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Antivirus

Drexel uses Sophos Endpoint Protection and Palo Alto Networks Traps for the protection of Drexel owned systems. For personal machines, Drexel recommends Windows Defender Antivirus for devices running Microsoft Windows or Sophos Home, a free anti-virus solution supporting both Windows and macOS.

Note to Professional Staff and Faculty: Most on-campus computers used by professional staff and faculty will automatically install required security software when they log into the Drexel domain. Please contact the IT Help Desk at 215.895.2020 for information about this process.

For more information on endpoint security software, please see drexel.edu/it/services/catalog/antivirus.

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Firewall

Students, Faculty and Staff

DrexelNet users are strongly encouraged to enable their built-in operating system firewall. Firewalls help protect computers by restricting remote access to critical system services.

Windows 10

  • Open your Control Panel.
  • Open Windows Firewall Settings.
    • Select "System and Security."
    • Select "Windows Firewall."
  • Enable the Firewall.
    • Make sure both Private and Public Network Firewalls are turned on.
  • Click "OK" to save the settings.
  • Close the "Control Panel" window.

Windows 7

  • Open your Control Panel.
  • Choose Windows Firewall.
  • In the left panel, click "Turn Windows Firewall on or off."
  • Select each of the green shields to turn on Windows Firewall in three settings.
  • Click "OK" to save the settings.
  • Close the "Control Panel" window.

macOS

  • Click Apple Menu > System Preferences....
  • Under Internet & Network, click "Sharing."
  • Click "Firewall."
  • Click "Start."
  • Click the "System Preferences" menu and then "Quit."

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