Students: Getting Started with Computer Security

These are steps you should take NOW, before you arrive on campus, to ensure that your computer will be as safe as possible from viruses and other malicious programs which are rampant these days on the Internet.

If you arrive with an infected computer, or if it becomes infected after you're here, you may lose access to the internet until you clean it up. This can take hours, endanger your personal documents, and require you to re-format your hard drive and re-install your operating system and all your applications from scratch. Although CUIT is here to help you should it be necessary, it's up to YOU to take the necessary precautions to secure your computer.

For Windows:

  • Configure Windows Update to run automatically.
  • Select a secure password for your Windows computer that is different from the password you set on your UNI.
  • Turn on the built-in firewall in Windows XP.
  • Download (for free!) Symantec AntiVirus and set it to update automatically. You will need your UNI and password to do this.
  • Scan for and remove any viruses found on your computer.
  • Remember to bring your original application CDs and Windows Restore CDs. CUIT cannot supply you with these items.
  • Figure out how you will backup your files regularly.
  • Educate yourself about safe computing practices.

For Macintosh:

These days Macintosh users do not have nearly as many virus problems as Windows users, but you still need to take proper precautions to keep your computer safe. You can read about the built-in security features of OS X on Apple's Web site.

  • Don't ignore Software Update when it wants you to install updates on your Macintosh, especially security updates.
  • Turn on OS X's built-in firewall.
  • Select a secure password for your Macintosh that is different from the password you set on your UNI.
  • Download Symantec AntiVirus (for free!) and set it to update automatically. You will need your UNI and password to do this. Scan for and remove any viruses found on your computer.
  • Remember to bring original CDs for your OS and applications. CUIT cannot supply you with these items.
  • Develop a strategy for backing up your files regularly. Apple's online Knowledgebase has information you may find useful.
  • Educate yourself about safe computing practices