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Computer Security Recommendations

Many new computers ship with very poor default security, which can become hazardous when they are connected to the Internet. This page is intended to provide you with some basic steps you can take to increase the security of your laptop. 
No single product can provide total security; different tools stop different threats. If you implement the suggestions below to add multiple layers of security, your machine will be a lot more difficult to compromise. 

Keep your operating system up to date
Don't undermine your computer's protection by providing hackers "back doors" to your computer. Updating your operating system (and your applications such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat) plugs security holes that hackers are constantly seeking. Check for Microsoft Updates or Apple Software updates at least once a week to keep your computer up-to-date with security and other bug patches. Do a check as "close to immediately" as possible after connecting to the Internet. Both Windows Update and Apple's Software update are turned on by default.  Instructions for how to check if you are receiving updates automatically are below: 

Windows: Click the Start button and type Windows Update.  Press Enter


Anti-virus Notes for Windows

Law IT strongly recommends that you have some kind of anti-virus program on your computer that is up-to-date. Many PCs come with trial versions of anti-virus software, but they usually expire after a couple of months forcing you to purchase a full version in order to keep up to date with the latest malware threats. Rather than pay for these types of subscriptions, the University recommends Windows Defender. Defender is installed by default in Windows 10 and 8.1. You should check ( Win 8.1 | Win 10 ) to make sure these programs are running properly. 

Other Important Security Tips for Windows
  1. Make sure your computer is set to receive Windows Updates and has a Firewall program enabled. To check:
        Win 8.1      Win 10

  2. Keep other programs up to date. Many malware attacks prey on computers with outdated versions of popular programs such as Adobe Reader.  To better protect yourself against these threats, update these programs when you are prompted to do so. 

For more security information:


Anti-virus Notes for Mac
The University recommends Sophos Anti-Virus Home Free, which is available at no cost. 
  1. Make sure that if you have an anti-virus program already installed you remove it and restart your computer before installing any new anti-virus program.
  2. Make sure to check the date on your anti-virus program often. One sign that your computer may be infected is that your anti-virus program stops updating properly.

How to check the date for Sophos Anti-Virus: 

Click the 'S' shield icon in the menu bar, then click the About button. 
Make sure Sophos states that it is up to date.

MAC OSX   Get Sophos Anti-Virus Home Free for Mac

Other Important Security Tips for Mac
  1. Make sure your computer has a Firewall enabled. To check: 
    Click the Apple Menu | System Preferences...
    How to tell what version of macOS you haveMac OSX 10.10 and higher: Click Security & Privacy | Firewall tab.       
       If the Firewall is Off, click the lock icon Lock Icon at the bottom of the window and 
       Click Turn On Firewall to turn it on.       

  2. Change Safari to not open "safe" files after downloading. One known malware attack takes advantage of this default setting. To change it:
    • Open Safari
    • Click the Safari menu in the top toolbar and choose Preferences....
    • Under the General tab, uncheck Open "safe" files after downloading.

     uncheck this setting

  3. Please note that upgrading to new operating system versions of macOS (for example 11 "Big Sur" to 12) could jeopardize your ability to print to Law School printers or take Electronic Bluebook exams*. Please check with first to make sure the operating system to which you wish to upgrade is fully supported.
    *The Law School will not be using Electronic Bluebook for the Fall 2020 term.


For more security information:

Backups are Critical 
Part of good security is keeping backups of your important files; multiple backups to flash drive, Cloud storage, etc. Backups are inexpensive. Data recovery, on the other hand, is very expensive, and sometimes not possible. Make backups often and check the backups to make sure that they are reliable.