Protect Your Computer from Viruses and Hackers
How Can I Protect My Computer from Viruses and Hackers?
There are a few simple steps you can take to prevent viruses and hackers from taking over your computer. The 7 Steps To Safe Computing at Penn are compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OSX computers.
7 Steps to Safe Computing at Penn
1. Enable your Firewall
Windows 7: Click Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Firewall > and select Turn Windows Firewall On in the left column. Turn firewall on and click OK.
Windows Vista: Click Start > Control Panel > Security > Windows Firewall > and select Turn Windows Firewall On in the left column. Turn firewall on and click OK.
Windows XP: Click Start > Control Panel > Network Connections > right-click on a connection and select Properties > click the Advanced tab and check the box that says Protect My Computer and Network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet. Do this for every network connection you have (wireless, LAN, etc.).
Mac OS 10.5.8 and 10.6.x: Click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Security > Firewall > Select Allow only essential services.
2. Run OS Updates
Windows 7: Click Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Update > Set elect Check for Updates to search for new updates. If there are new updates, install them.
Windows Vista: Click Start > Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Underneath Windows Update, click
Windows XP: Click Start > All Programs > Windows Update. Download and install all critical updates.
Mac OS X: Click the Apple Menu > Software Update > Install all updates
3. Set up a password on your system
A strong password should be 8-10 characters in length, should contain a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, and should not contain any recognizable words or personal data. It is not a good idea to use the same password as your PennKey or email account.
Windows 7: Click Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > User Accounts and Family Safety > Underneath User Accounts click Change your Windows password > Create a password for your account
Windows Vista: Click Start > Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts > Create a password for your account
Windows XP: Click Start > Control Panel > User Accounts > along the bottom, select your user account > Create a password for your account
Mac OS X: Click the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Accounts > click the user in the left column and add a password or change a password.
4. Install up-to-date anti-virus software
The University offers, Symantec Endpoint Protection free to all students, staff and faculty. In order to download this software, please visit www.upenn.edu/computing/product and authenticate with your PennKey and password. Be sure to enable automatic updates to receive the most up-to-date virus definitions.
5. Disable file sharing
Downloading and distributing copyrighted material via file sharing programs like BitTorrent or LimeWire is illegal. If you illegally file share, you will probably be caught. Don't take the risk.
6. Bring your original software media and product keys
"Original Software Media" refers to the CDs or DVDs that came with your computer--Windows CDs, Office CDs, etc. If something goes wrong with your computer, you'll need your original media and corresponding product keys to get it fixed.
7. See an ITA if you need help
If you need help with your computer, find an ITA in your College House's computer lab or submit a request for help here on our website. ITAs can check your computer to make sure that you are safe and secure!
Another source of information is "Safeguarding your Electronic Data, Resources, Privacy and Rights in the University Environment: The Guide to Information Security."