Get Started with Computer Security at Columbia
These are steps you should take now, before you arrive on campus, to ensure that your computer will be as safe as possible from the rampant viruses and malware on the Internet.
If you arrive with an infected computer, or if it becomes infected after you're at Columbia, you may lose access to the Internet until your computer has been cleaned.
This can take hours, endanger your personal documents, and require you to reformat your hard drive and reinstall 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.
Precautions you can take
- Turn on your operating system's automatic updates feature. Don't ignore it when it notifies you to install an update, especially security updates.
- Select a secure password for your computer that is different from your UNI password.
- Make sure your computer's built-in firewall is on at all times.
- Download Malwarebytes (free for current students). You will need your UNI and password to do this.
- Scan for and remove any viruses found on your computer.
- Develop a strategy for backing up your files regularly.
- Educate yourself about safe computing practices.
- Follow best practices on keeping your workstation secure.
- Don't use filesharing programs. Most distribute copyrighted material, which is against the law and Columbia's Copyright Policy. These programs also often include spyware and many downloads make your computer vulnerable to viruses. Browse Educause's updated list of legal online content alternatives that are more secure.