Computer Security Check List
In order to keep your computer secure and prevent any infections, we've compiled this check list of simple steps to take in order to secure your computer. If you require assistance at any time, feel free to ask the staff at the DoIT Walk-in Help Desk. Or, if you're completing this check list at home and have questions, give us a call at (608)264-HELP.
Install and update anti-virus software
- Make sure you uninstall any old versions of Anti-Virus software before installing Symantec. This includes McAfee, Norton, AVG, or any older version of Symantec you may have installed.
- Download Symantec Anti-Virus and install the software.
- When you open Symantec Anti-Virus, you will see the word "definitions:" followed by a date. Make sure that date is no older than yesterday, or your computer isn't fully protected! New definitions come out daily, and Symantec will automatically install them for you. Click here to learn how to update your definitions manually.
- Learn how to run a scan. Symantec automatically scans new files that are added to your computer, but it's a good idea to do a full scan of your computer on a regular basis.
Install and update anti-spyware protection (Windows Only)
- Anti-Spyware software is useful to have in case a virus breaches your first lines of defense and infects your computer. Anti-Spyware software does not scan your computer continuously (like an Anti-Virus program would), but rather scans on command.
- Download and install Malwarebytes or Spybot - Search and Destroy
- Each Anti-Spyware program has an "update" feature that does not update automatically - you have to manually update it yourself before you run a scan. Make sure to update your Anti-Spyware first, then run a scan.
Make sure your firewall is up and running
- Mac OSX Instructions
- Windows XP Instructions
- Windows Vista/Windows 7 (Security Center is located in the Control Panel)
- Windows 7, 8 and 10 - Using the Built-in Firewall
Check for operating system updates
Check the strength of your passwords
- Are your passwords strong? Remember to strengthen ALL your passwords, not just your NetID password!
Uninstall file sharing software
Secure your important data
- Backup any important data for safekeeping -- Check out Computing at UW - Backing up Your Personal Data to view various options for preserving your data.
- Keep critical hard-copy data stored in a fireproof safe.
- Download and install Identity Finder to locate personal information stored on your machine.