Steps that can be taken to increase security on your computer

1. Install a reputable anti-virus program:

  • For example, Microsoft offers Microsoft Security Essentials, which will protect against viruses and spyware.
  • Students can download this software free from the Microsoft website by clicking on the link above.

2. Passwords:

  • Do not use something you can find in a dictionary (in any language or jargon).
  • Do not use a name (including that of a spouse, parent, child, pet, fantasy character, famous person and location) or any variation of your personal or account name.
  • Do not use accessible information about you (such as your phone number, license plate, or social security number) or your environment.
  • Do not use a birthday or a simple pattern (such as backwards, followed by a digit, or preceded by a digit. Instead, use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, as well as digits or punctuation.
  • When choosing a new password, make sure it´s unrelated to any previous password.
  • Use long passwords (say 8 characters long). You might use a word pair with punctuation inserted, a passphrase (an understandable sequence of words), or the first letter of each word in a passphrase.

3. Scan downloaded files for viruses.

  • Many internet browsers scan for viruses upon download. Your anti-virus program should also do this automatically.

4. Do not download programs or open attachments from sources you do not know.

5. Do not use peer-to-peer file sharing software.

  • This software not only facilitates the downloading of copyrighted files, but also spreads viruses and other malware.

6. Consider using an alternative operating system, such as Mac OS X or Linux.

  • These operating systems are much less susceptible to viruses based on how they operate.