Computing Tips to Keep You Safe

Information Technology & Services is committed to assisting faculty, staff and students in protecting both themselves and their computers from online threats. There are a number of ways you can stay safe when using your computer and avoid hazards such as viruses, fraud, identity theft and more.


Don’t save your passwords for USC Upstate, SSC, Blackboard or any other University login where anyone can find them. Never give out your password to anyone else, even ITS. Make sure your password is not one that people can easily guess (i.e. your name, date of birth, place of work). Using numbers and special characters in your password will give it extra security. Always remember to log out when you have finished a computer session to prevent someone else from accessing your account.

If you responded to a phishing email or you suspect your account has been compromised, immediately contact the ITS help desk at 864-503-5257.

Anti-virus Software

Make sure your computer has up-to-date virus software (this is also required for connecting to USC Upstate wireless). ITS installs virus software on all University-owned computers. For personal Windows computers, students can download Microsoft Security Essentials for free or come to the Help Desk to have it installed.

Spam Emails

If you receive a suspicious email, especially one asking for account or personal information, do not reply. Never open an attachment from someone you don't recognize or are unsure of. If in doubt, call the Help Desk or forward the message to the Help Desk email. You should also delete the spam email as soon as possible. The following are clues that you might have received a spam message:

  • Obvious misspellings
  • Unknown email address
  • Asking for personal account information, passwords or credit card details
  • Someone from a foreign country seeking your help to get money out of their country

In addition if you receive several unwanted emails from a specific address, you can block that address by right clicking on the specific email, choose junk and block sender.

Copyright Compliance

Make sure you are in compliance with copyright law. Illegal downloading of copyrighted material could harm your computer and leave you liable to prosecution. USC Upstate ITS will cooperate with authorities in investigating violations. Read the ITS policy on copyright compliance here.

File Storage

Be careful who you trust with your documents. Always back up your data somewhere secure where other people do not have access, unless you want to share your work with them. Faculty and staff please note that University data cannot be stored anywhere except in University-provided locations such as your work computer, H drive or P drive.

Social Media Security

Be careful what personal information you share on social sites, especially if you choose to make it available for anyone to view, not just friends. Pictures and location data should be shared with caution.


Remember that email is not a secure means of communication. Incorrectly addressed emails could end up in the wrong hands and messages can be forwarded to other people without your knowledge.

If you suspect your privacy has been violated, please keep copies of all relevant documents and contact the ITS help desk at 864-503-5257.

Use of Resources

Copying or distributing proprietary software is prohibited. Resources should not be used for personal gain or commercial use. Harassment is not tolerated in any form. Do not send or forward harassing, fraudulent, obscene, threatening or defamatory messages or materials to anyone.