Precautions while using computer and laptops
Laptop safety precautions
. Many people sometimes me too, place the laptop on a soft surface like bed or a pillow which just stops the laptop to take a breath. By breath I mean some fresh air through the vents. In most laptops the vents are designed at the bottom of the laptop i e the base which makes it more dangerous for the laptop.
. The portable computer does not have the same cooling system as a standard desktop PC.They are primarily made of plastic, which tends to retain heat instead of dissipating it,They have a small fan, two for the largest models, which are not sufficient to dissipate the heat.They emit the same heat energy than any computer.The air intakes are often blocked.
. Always use your laptops on a flat surface and preferably elevate it at the air intakes location. Avoid using it on your bed. The overheating of components will cause degradation of all systems hardware. Do not expose it to direct sunlight, even the screen cover closed! You can check out the temperatures of the processors.
. The laptops do not have the solid metal shell like desktop computers although lighter, they are more vulnerable.Laptops are made up of the same electronical components reduced in size and scale as the desktop computers these components are not made for transport when they are at work. A small shock can permanently damage these components.Laptops have few replaceable parts.
. A laptop computer must not be used in the same way as a desktop computer.The battery wears out.
Safe use of Laptops
. Laptops were originally designed for short duration and irregular use, not for daily continuous operation. The inherent design features of a laptop encourage their use in non traditional settings and in poor postures. If you need to conduct your work on a laptop for an extended period of time ? or your laptop is your primary computer, the following guidance can help reduce the risk of musculoskeletal discomfort or injury.
. Chose a position where you can achieve the best posture including the ability to; adjust the screen position sit straight in front of the screen keep the laptop away from glare and move your arms freely.
. This is the most important and easiest solution to poor postures created by the laptop design. The external keyboard allows you to independently adjust the screen and keyboard position and achieve a more appropriate position.
External pointing devices mice
. Some people find the internal touchpad or trackball difficult to negotiate. It is preferable to use a full sized mouse ? or a mouse that fits your hand size which encourages you to use your whole hand to manoeuvre the mouse and increases comfort for the user.
. Remember document holders are useful during laptop use as well as at your desk to keep your documents at the same height as your screen. This is also an effective strategy to minimise twisting and poor neck postures when using the laptop.
Laptop stations or stands
. These adjustable stands hold the laptop in a more upright position providing good screen height. An external keypad and mouse can then be fitted and the laptop can be used like a regular computer.
. The most delicate part of a laptop is its lid where the display, microphone and the webcam fits. Make sure that you do not handle the laptop with its lid. While opening the lid make sure that you do not put pressure on the screen. The webcam usually sits on the middle of upper part of the lid. Try not opening the lid by placing your finger anywhere near the webcam.
. Make sure while operating the laptop on the quilt the heat vents do not get blocked. Blocking of heat vents can lead to over heating of the motherboard, hence leading to damage beyond repair. After 2 3 years of operation the heat vents may have dust stuck to it, which will further prevent the proper exhaustion of heat.
Place laptop on a hard surface
. While using laptop be sure to place it on a hard surface so that there may be a space between the laptop base and the surface on which it has been placed. Otherwise again the same problem that it wont be able to take fresh air in and give out hot air because of the closed vents. So always be sure to use laptop on something hard or else in your lap at such an angle where the vents are just open.
Get a screen saver for your LED Screen
. Often while moving from one place to the other, we close the laptop and place it into a laptop bag which is cool enough to make the laptop safe. But whats happening inside a close laptop is but discouraging, most of the times your keyboards keys touch the LED and make some slight unseen scratches over it which cant be seen first time but with the passage of time these small scratches become way too visible and make a bad impact on the visibility of the LED screen of your laptop. Thus, to avoid this thing and to make your LED safe from the other kind of small scratches its better to get a screen saver a transparent one of good quality for your laptop and let it pasted on the LED. It will make it safe from any kind of scratches.
. With the increase in computer use, a number of health and safety concerns related to vision and body aches and pains have arisen. Many problems with computer use are temporary and can be resolved by adopting simple corrective action. Most problems related to computer use are completely preventable.
Prevention is better than cure
. Several relatively straightforward precautions can be taken by computer users to avoid problems.
Pprotect my laptop while traveling
. There are two reasons to be careful when traveling with a laptop. One is to make sure that the laptop is not damaged, lost, or stolen while youre traveling. The second is to make sure that the information data on the laptop remains safe and confidential.
. Invest in personal property insurance if you own the laptop yourself. If you are a student, laptops can be covered with an appropriate rider on your parents homeowner policy. If your parents do not have this kind of policy, you should consider contacting an insurance agency. Insurance agents can tell you the types of insurance available and how much coverage you need.
Precautions to Protect Data
. Do not keep any personally identifiable information on your laptop. A product such as Identity Finder can find files on your hard drive that may contain personally identifiable information.If the laptop does contain sensitive files that you do NOT need while traveling, keep them at home. Remove them from the hard drive and put them on another system or disk. Make sure you will be able to re access the stored files when you return from your trip. To ensure that the files are really deleted from the laptops hard drive use a proven media sanitizing software tool.
What to Take With You
. Use a USB flash drive or other portable storage to copy and carry files that are most critical while traveling. It is important to make sure information such as bank and credit card details are kept safe. Keep them encrypted or protected with a strong password and keep this device safe while traveling.
To Retrieve a Lost Laptop
. Label your laptop. Provide your full contact information so that if the device is found, the finder will be able to reach you, your company or school quickly.Know who to call. Airports especially may have a difficult lost and found process, when it concerns the loss of a laptop computer or other data bearing devices. Know what youre up against if a laptop does go missing at an airport or your hotel.
In Airports and On Airplanes
. Allow yourself enough time. Airline travel is a hassle that only gets worse when you dont allow enough time to get on your plane. Mistakes can be avoided if you slow down your pace.Do not check your laptop with your other luggage.Do not send your laptop through the airport X ray conveyor belt UNTIL its your turn to walk through the metal detector. That way youll be able to pick it up promptly when it comes out the other end and prevent anyone else from walking away with it. X ray equipment will NOT harm the laptop.While on an airplane, place the laptop under the seat in front of you. Do not place it in the overhead storage area as it could easily get bumped and damaged there.
Lock it down
. Data security is one thing, but dont forget about securing your actual laptop. In the minute or two it takes you to go refill your coffee cup or answer the call of nature, a thief can easily walk off with your pricey property.
Taking a Portable Computer Through Security
. In the US and in most other countries, laptops have to be taken out of its carrying case or out of your carry on bag as you go through the x ray scanners at airport security.
Notebook Computer and ipad Screening Exceptions
. Currently, the TSA does not make you take out for separate screening a smaller computer such as a notebook computer or iPad. You can keep these in your carry on bag, computer bag, or other bag as you go though security. Keep in mind that a security screener may still ask you to take out your iPad or notebook computer for separate screening, especially if you have several many electrical or electronic items in the same bag.
Laptop Security in the Terminal
. If you decide to use your laptop during the time before boarding, take the same precautions that you would in any other public space. Dont leave your laptop unattended, and if you the airport has free wi fi access, avoid doing anything online such as online banking that requires a secure connection.
Other laptop security hints
. In addition to protecting your laptop from loss, damage, or theft, you should also take the time to protect the information on the laptop. One way to do that is to separate the data from the laptop. For most users, the information on a laptop is far more valuable than the laptop itself. One easy way to protect against the loss of data is to either backup your data before you travel, or plan to keep any important or sensitive data data separate from the laptop in a device such as a flash drive, CD ROM, or or external hard drive. Of course, these data storage devices should always be with you or with your carry on bag, and not in any checked bag.
Use security software
. The most important thing you can do to keep your computer safe is to install and maintain security software.Install and run Identity Finder, a tool to help you search for, protect, and dispose of personal information stored on your computer, file shares, or external media.Install the Secunia Personal Software Inspector. This will alert you when your current software applications are out of date or require a security update.
Maintain current software and updates
. Use a secure, supported operating system; see ComputerGuide Deals by vendor, recommendations, and common questions. Keep your software updated by applying the latest service packs and patches. Refer to your operating systems help for assistance.The best way to maintain third party software is to install the Secunia Personal Software Inspector. This will alert you when your current software applications are out of date or require a security update.
Frequently back up important documents and files
. Back up your data frequently. This protects your data in the event of an operating system crash, hardware failure, or virus attack. UITS recommends saving files in multiple places using two different forms of media e.g., Cloud Storage, Oncourse Resources, or USB flash drive. See At IU, what options do I have for storing files.
Never share passwords or passphrases
. Pick strong passwords and passphrases, and keep them private. Never share your passwords or passphrases, even with friends, family, or computer support personnel.
Do not download unfamiliar software off the Internet
. KaZaA, Bonzi, Gator, HotBar, WhenUSave, CommentCursor, WebHancer, LimeWire, and other Gnutella programs all appear to have useful and legitimate functions. However, most of this software is or contains spyware, which will damage your operating system installation, waste resources, generate pop up ads, and report your personal information back to the company that provides the software.
Lock your computer when stepping away
. Forgetting to log out poses a security risk with any computer that is accessible to other people including computers in public facilities, offices, and shared housing, because it leaves your account open to abuse. Someone could sit down at that computer and continue working from your account, doing damage to your files, retrieving personal information, or using your account to perform malicious actions. For an example of possible consequences, see this entry in the Protect IU Blog. To avoid misuse by others, remember to log out of or lock your computer whenever you leave it.
Test computers after you are finished with them
. For computers in the UITS Student Technology Centers STCs or Residential Technology Centers RTCs, logging out is sufficient to protect the security of your accounts and data. With other computers, however, it is usually necessary to shut them down after you have finished to prevent unauthorized access. Shutting down a computer prevents others from hacking it remotely, among other risks.
Restrict remote access
. UITS recommends that you disable file and print sharing. In rare exceptions when you may need to share a resource with others, you should format your drive using NTFS, and correctly set the file and directory permissions.UITS also recommends disabling Remote Desktop RDP and Remote Assistance, unless you require these features. If you do, enable the remote connections when needed, and disable them when youre finished. Note that you only need to enable RDP on the computer you intend to connect to; disabling RDP on the computer youre connecting from will not prevent you from making a connection to another computer.
Treat sensitive data very carefully
. For example, when creating files, avoid keying the files to Social Security numbers, and dont gather any more information on people than is absolutely necessary.
Remove data securely
. Remove files or data you no longer need to prevent unauthorized access to them. Merely deleting sensitive material is not sufficient, as it does not actually remove the data from your system. For information on secure data removal, see Securely Removing Data.
Shut it down
. Unlike a desktop computer a laptop computer needs to be shut down when not in use. Shutting down when not in use prevents the laptop from overheating and it also needs the rest.
Adjusting power settings
. Adjusting your power options will help your laptop from heating up when not in use even if for short periods of time. You can set your hard drive and display to turn off after a set time period. Another option is to set the laptop to go into standby or hibernate mode.
Before you pack it up
. Make sure that you before you put your laptop into its carrying bag that it is shut down. A notebook that has been left on can melt. When enclosed in a notebook bag there is no air circulation and the results can be worse than melting. Dont find out the hard way and just be sure to turn off your laptop.
. Part of your weekly routine should be to inspect and clean the air vents in your laptop. Forced air dusters can be used to keep the air vents clean and free from debris. Its important to know that you should never push anything into the air vents.
Checking the Fan
. Overheating problems can be caused by the laptop fan not working properly. Always check the laptop manufacturers online support and your warranty information. It may be possible to download software to test your laptop fan.
. Some laptops control the fans through the BIOS. Check online with the laptop manufacturer for BIOS updates. If you arent comfortable updating the BIOS yourself, have someone in your IT dept. or have an outside Computer Technician do it for you.
Avoid lap burn
. Using a laptop desk or cooler will prevent you from being burned when using your laptop. A good laptop desk will have large enough vents for allowing air circulation between you and the laptop. Some laptop desks have additional fans which use power from the laptop itself to stay cool.
. Its a wise idea not to use any soft material as a buffer between you and your laptop. Always operate your laptop on a hard surface, preferably one that allows ventilation. Soft materials can block the airflow vents and cause it to overheat. If it is not possible to avoid using a soft surface, an optional heat sink base should be used to maintain cooling.
. Whenever your laptop will not be in use, even for short periods of time remember to unplug any accessories. Not only do they use power but they could cause the laptop to overheat. Its especially important to unplug any accessories before packing your laptop in its carrying case. While you may believe it will make it quicker to use, it could damage your laptop, the accessory and/or your laptop bag.
Protecting data in transit
. Almost all Internet traffic is sent in the clear. This means that it can be read by software on any host computer through which the network packets are routed without having to be de crypted. This should be of little concern to most Internet users because most of the packets traveling on the Internet contain data that is not sensitive from the users viewpoint, and is of no interest to Internet attackers.Several types of information traveling across the network that are sensitive to users, and of interest to Internet attackers, are discussed in the following sections.
. Another basic precaution that all users should take is to ensure that permissions on files that can be accessed by others are set properly.An example of files that could be accessed by others are files in a Unix or Novell account. The Unix and Novell operating systems maintain a set of permissions on each file that establishes permission to read, write, or execute the file by the file owner, a group of users, or all users. If a user does not want other users to read his files, then the permissions for each file must be set to prevent this.
. The first type of sensitive information traveling across the Internet is user name, password, and IP address combinations. These data are the primary targets of sniffer programs operated by Internet attackers. These are read by the sniffer program and typically recorded in a file intended to be retrieved later by the attacker. These combinations can then be used to break into the users account. and from there the attacker can compromise the entire system.A solution to this problem is to have these data sent across the Internet in a secure manner, such as by encrypting them first.
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