A note on IT security

Arlington Composite Squadron Senior Members, Cadets, and Parents –

We use the computers in the JROTC room at the Arlington Career Center regularly for squadron activities. These computers are under the control of the Arlington Public Schools, and as such, are configured for security according to the school system’s requirements. When we use them, we simply sit down and begin work – we do not have specific login information or any expectation of privacy.

When using these computers, a public computer, or any computer under the control of someone you do not know or trust, it is important to minimize the transmission of personally identifiable information. In general, that means avoiding the use of sites where you have to log in. Sometimes, this is unavoidable, particularly as we regularly access CAP eServices and need to use our username or CAPID and password. If a browser offers to memorize a password for you, you should always decline when using a public computer.

We should make every effort to eliminate our “paper” trails when we’re finished with our work. This means:

  1. logging off of all web sites (like eServices)
  2. clearing the cache and history on the web browser
  3. quitting all open applications
  4. deleting all files we may have saved to the computer (secure delete if at all possible)
  5. as a courtesy, leave the computer as you found it – ready for the next user

Different browsers provide different mechanisms to clear cache and history. At the Arlington Career Center, the computers run Firefox version 5.0 and Internet Explorer version 8.0. On Firefox, to clear personal information, you should:

  1. click on the orange Firefox tab
  2. select History and then Clear Recent History from the pull-down menu
  3. you can choose how much history to delete – choose at least one hour
  4. select Details and then select all items to clear
  5. click OK and quit the browser once the action is complete

On Internet Explorer, you should:

  1. click on the Tools option in the toolbar
  2. select Delete Browsing History
  3. make sure that all items are checked EXCEPT preserve favorites – please uncheck that item
  4. click OK and quit the browser once the action is complete

Both Firefox and IE have “private browsing” features which do not save any history. Please consider using this feature as well. On Firefox, click the orange Firefox tab and select Private Browsing. On IE, click on Tools and select InPrivate Browsing.

Please note that these instructions are specific to the versions of Firefox and IE at the Arlington Career Center. These are not the latest versions available, and are likely not the ones you use on your personal computers. Spending a minute to do this will greatly reduce the risk of your personal information getting into the wrong hands.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to leave a comment here, contact me by e-mail, or speak with me at a squadron meeting. Thanks very much for your help in providing a safe computing environment for all of us.