Follow these tips to keep your computer's security tight. If this is your first visit, use these tips as a security checklist.

  1. Patch, Patch, PATCH!
    An unpatched machine is more likely to have software vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Turn on automatic updates: Mac | Windows.
  2. Install protective software.
    Sophos is available as a free download from IS&T's software grid. Once installed, schedule Sophos to regularly scan and update your virus definitions automatically.
  3. Choose strong passwords.
    Strong passwords use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Create a unique password for each account. LastPass can manage all of your passwords for you—and it's free.
  4. Back up on a regular basis.
    Scheduling routine backups can protect you from the unexpected. Always keep a few months' worth of retrievable backup. Download and install CrashPlan and learn how to back up your system.
  5. Control access to your machine.
    Don't leave your computer in an unsecured, public area, especially if you're logged on. This includes Athena clusters and Quickstations. The physical security of your machine is just as important as its technical security.
  6. Use email and the internet safely.
    Ignore unsolicited emails. Be wary of attachments, links, and forms in emails that come from people you don't know, or which seem "phishy." Avoid untrustworthy (often free) downloads. Learn more about dealing with spam at MIT.
  7. Use secure connections.
    When connected to the internet, your data can be vulnerable while in transit. Use remote connectivity and secure file transfer options when off campus.
  8. Protect sensitive data.
    Securely remove sensitive data files from your hard drive, especially when recycling or repurposing your computer. Protect sensitive files using the encryption tools built into your operating system.
  9. Use desktop firewalls.
    Mac and Windows computers use basic desktop firewalls to protect your computer files from being scanned. Make sure they are properly configured.
  10. Most importantly, stay informed.
    Stay current with the latest developments: Follow IS&T on Facebook and Twitter. Bookmark IS&T Secure Computing.