Securing Your Computer in 5 Easy Steps
The following guidelines represent a Best Practice that all students should follow to prevent threats from causing harm:
- Turn on automatic updates & install critical updates
- Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and update it regularly
- Turn on your firewall
- Protect your shared files and folders
- Power down or unplug your system when not in use
Make sure you install critical updates for your operating system, and configure the OS and applications to automatically check for new updates. BevoWare includes many common updates and patches for your operating system and applications. Macintosh users can run Apple's built-in Software Update from the Apple menu. Windows users can take advantage of Windows Update (requires Internet Explorer and downloads an Active X component).
Although there are many commercial programs available, the University's BevoWare license provides you with anti-virus and anti-spyware solutions that include automated program updates at no additional charge. To download these products, visit BevoWare (requires UT EID login). If you need help, the Campus Computer Store can install these programs and configure them for you.
Anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are useless if they are not updated regularly because new types of malicious code are being released constantly. Updates provide your program with the latest virus and spyware definition files to help defend your system against newly released viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and other malicious code. BevoWare's Symantec AntiVirus will prompt you for updates or can update automatically.
For details on how to configure scans for Symantec AntiVirus, see the following ITS documents:
Installing and Configuring Symantec Anti-Virus Software for Windows Vista
Installing and Configuring Norton AntiVirus Software for Windows XP
Installing and Configuring Norton AntiVirus Software for Mac OS X
A firewall is a program that filters all data traffic flowing into and out of your computer. In most cases, it logs all attempts to access your system. By defining "rules" in your firewall that define what traffic should and shouldn't be allowed to and from your computer, you can block certain types of network traffic.
Firewall software lets you know exactly what programs are sending and receiving network traffic, and it also notifies you whenever your machine is being probed (scanned) or attacked. It can prevent your computer from being hacked and alert you if your machine has been compromised.
ITS actively encourages the use of Windows Firewall for PC in lieu of Symantec or 3rd Party Firewall solutions. Turning on Automatic Updates will keep your Firewall up to date.
ITS actively encourages the use of the Mac OS firewall for Macs in lieu of Symantec or 3rd Party Firewall Solutions
Windows and Macintosh systems provide the ability to share folders or entire disks on to the local area network. Anyone within your broadcast domain (usually one floor in a resident hall) will be able to find and access any shares that are open to public access. The safest option is to disable sharing of both files and printers. Turning off sharing prevents people from reading your personal files, deleting important files, or even writing files to your computer. If you decide to allow sharing, follow these suggestions:
- Specify a password for each share and give the password only to those you trust to not harm your computer.
- Set the permissions on the share to "read-only." This means that no one will be able to copy, delete, modify, or rename your files.
If a computer is only on the network occasionally, it becomes a less desirable target. Therefore, you should turn off your machine when you are not using it. You can also unplug your network cable to keep your machine powered on, but not connected to the network. If you are an advanced Windows user, you can release your DHCP lease so that your dynamically assigned IP address expires. On a Macintosh computer, you can change the Connect via option in the TCP/IP Control Panel or System Preference screen.