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Cybersecurity is the protection of the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information systems and data. PCC promotes information security through user awareness, appropriate business practices, and implementation of robust security technologies. 

Students and employees should protect their computer systems on- and off-campus by following good information security practices.  Employees: access the Information Technology section of the PCC Intranet to learn more about information security business practices and technologies.

Your Passwords

Your passwords are sensitive information, guard them well.  Anyone who has your password and your username can assume your identity.  Whenever you create a password, make it unique to what you are logging in to. 

Don't make it easy for hackers!  Strong passwords cannot easily be cracked by password cracking software.  Learn how to create strong passwords -- ones that you can actually remember too!


Phishing and Vishing are attempts to steal valuable information such as account passwords, social security numbers, bank account numbers, etc.

A phishing email is a technique used by attackers to gather information that is sensitive or can be used to identify the victim for nefarious purposes. The email will appear to come from a legitimate person or business.

Vishing is a technique used by an attacker to solicit information from the victim via telephone. The attacker may pose as an employee or as a representative of a reputable company in order to obtain information.

A good rule of thumb is to never provide confidential information to a third party (via e-mail, telephone call, etc) when that third party made contact with you.

  • Avoid sending confidential information over e-mail.
  • Avoid opening email or attachments from unknown sources.
  • Log on to the official website, instead of clicking any links in an e-mail.
  • Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the email to verify if the email is genuine.
  • Always take a moment and stop to think, ... before you click.

If you receive an email that you think is suspicious do not respond to it, click on the links, or open any attachments. Report the email to

Update, Update, Update!

Only run updates while on your private home internet. Using a public wifi connection can expose you to unknown people and threats. On your home internet, the environment is more secure and trustworthy.

Update your operating system, antivirus, web browser, and utilities. All these parts need updating in addition to programs such as Flash player or Adobe Reader. There are many improvements all the time to these various parts of your computer, and they need to be kept up to date before browsing the internet.

Make sure they’re real updates. This means the logo for the software is correct, there are no misspellings, and the message provides valid update reasons. Sometimes pop-ups on websites will try to trick us, but most legitimate update prompts will stay visible if you exit out of your browser.

Not just your computer! This also includes your mobile devices like your phone and tablet. Their operating systems have occasional updates that will show as a notification.

Think before you click!

If you see a window pop up, don’t automatically click OK! What you might be agreeing to is a malware download or redirection to a dangerous website. Be sure to read prompts before impulsively clicking that “Ok” button, and if you aren’t “Ok” with it, click the red X to close the window.

Closely look at your search results. The first few search results are the most tempting to click on, but do they really apply to what you’re looking for? Those results can often be adware or other malicious websites that you could be tricked into going to. Recognize them by reading the results carefully for any misspellings, bad grammar, or even totally unrelated descriptions!

Does something seem suspicious? Chances are that it is malicious! If you ended up in a corner of the internet that you’re not feeling good about, close your browser and start fresh.

Stay aware of what you post on social media!

Keep private information private. Oversharing on social media can alert hackers that you’re an easy target for social engineering like phishing (an attempt to get your account username and password) or vishing (an attempt over the phone to get personal information). Keep your privacy settings adjusted so the public cannot see your profile, and you’ll be the gatekeeper of who gets to know about your personal life.

Consider not including locations on your photos or statuses. Including the location on your posts will show an outsider many things including when you’re on vacation, where you work, and even where you live. While location sharing isn’t necessarily a way to be hacked, you wouldn’t want a stranger knowing where you are at all times.

Do a security checkup. See what you’re sharing with other people by looking at the options in your account’s security settings. Check your Facebook and Google security settings. Try to keep your information shared to as few people as possible to protect yourself.

Recognize Malware

Only download programs from websites you trust. Don’t do a web search for “Install [insert product name here]”, because that’s the easiest way to end up with malware! If you need to install a new product go directly to the developer’s website or use the installation disk provided.

Keep an eye out for strange behavior. Does your browser’s start page look different than normal? Does clicking one place lead you somewhere unexpected? Is there a toolbar or shortcut around you’ve never seen before? Can you not see a webpage because of all the pop ups happening? These are all signs that you may have installed Malware, Adware, or Spyware on your computer.

Uninstall the malware as soon as possible. If you recognize an issue, don’t just hope it will disappear. Some programs can be easily uninstalled using the “Add or remove programs” section of your control panel. If you can, download a software to remove these malicious files such as MalwareBytes or CCleaner. If you are really stuck, take the computer to a reputable computer tech service. They will definitely have experience with these kind of issues and get you up and running.