Office of Information Technology (OIT)
Secure a Student Personal Computer
Steps to Help Secure Your Computer
- Use Anti-virus Software
- Use a Firewall (Win7, Vista, XP, Mac)
- Use Separate Accounts and Strong Passwords (Win7, Vista, XP, Mac)
- Update Your Application & Operating System Software (Win7/Vista, Mac)
- Use an Anti-spyware Program
- Secure Your Web Browser
- Follow best practices in the Safe Computing Topics section and the Safe Computing practices below.
Use Safe Computing Practices
Our recommended steps can only protect you from what is known. Using safe computing practices can limit your exposure to new threats that appear on the Internet before vendors can produce updates to protect you.
Some safe computing practices include:
- Periodically run an application (e.g., Secunia or metaquark) that scans and identifies missing security patches for commonly-installed software (e.g., Adobe Reader, Flash, Java, and QuickTime). See Security Tools & Downloads page and Getting Started with Secunia PSI (PDF).
- Never open an e-mail attachment from a questionable source. If you receive an unexpected attachment from a trusted source, contact the sender and ask them if they meant to send you this. Many viruses are designed to send you attachments while posing as someone you may know.
- Maintain multiple strong passwords. Don't use the same password for your online banking that you do for your e-mail. This could open you to serious risk. Check the strong password section of Password Tips for more guidance on picking a password.
- Do not download and run files you receive from chat buddies without first making sure that the person intentionally sent you the message.
- When you download software from the Internet, make sure to read the user agreement. Many programs that you download from the Internet come with unwanted programs known as spyware.
- Back up your data. Review the Back Up Your Files page for more guidance.
- Disable File Sharing. File Sharing is a tool that allows you to share files with other users on the network, but can also make it easy for hackers to gain access to your files.
This is not an exhaustive list. There are so many computing scenarios that they could never all be recorded. When you are presented with an unknown situation, always err on the side of caution and contact Technology Help for guidance on how to proceed.
For infected computers, check your University of Minnesota email, or contact Technology Help for next steps. For the general process, see Options for Infected Personal Computers.