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.
Note: Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8.0 are not recommended by Cybersecurity. These operating systems no longer receive security updates. Any information regarding Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8.0 in this document is meant for convenience. It is highly suggested to update your OS.
Install and update anti-virus software
- For Windows, Windows Defender is great, free option, comes pre-installed with every copy of Windows 10. Here is how to activate it: Windows Defender - Enabling Antivirus Threat Protection & Windows Firewall.
- For MacOS, Trend Micro is available for free for faculty and staff. For installation, please see Trend Micro - Installing Trend Micro AV on Your Personally Owned macOS Device. Students, please see Security - Available Antivirus Software for Personally Owned Devices.
- 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.
- 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.