Computer Security

Password security and password managers

To make unique passwords for so many various sites that are sufficiently different and long (hard to guess), makes it very hard to remember! The solutions are to either make the same password for everything (bad), use shorter / easier passwords (bad), or use a password manager! (best solution)

Online Solution (works offline too) – encrypts your passwords locally then stores them in the cloud so you can access them from different machines (ties in to your browser, gives you a way to generate a password without thinking of one.)
Because it encrypts locally, LastPass cannot see your data online, so it is quite secure.
If you’re really worried you can have Two-Factor Authentication.
It also tells you if you have a weak password, or the same password for two things!

Offline Solution

If you are concerned trusting your password security to online providers, you can manually store it on your computer using KeyPass software
This is harder because you need a copy on each machine. It’s more secure but need to back it up and extra care not to lose the master password.

Get Anti-Virus

Windows 7 and newer can use Microsoft Essentials

Avast is a free option for all OS types (Windows, Linux, MAC)

Computer and Internet Security

IST have some good information to learn about computer and Internet security:

The most important things are:

  • Keep your computer up-to-date (apply Windows/Mac/Linux updates as well as installed software updates, such as firefox, chrome, java, adobe, etc).
  • Run Anti-Virus
  • Avoid reusing very important passwords with other sites (for example: don’t use your UofA password(s) for your Facebook password!). See the above password section.
  • Upgrade old operating systems (OS) and ensure your OS still receives security updates and updates are installed asap after their relesase.


The University of Alberta have mandated that all mobile devices, external memory, phones, etc. that contain University Information must be encrypted. The current phase of the project is limited to laptops. Please see the following page dedicated to Laptop Encryption.