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Your Security Checklist

October 12, 2012 by Sue Weier

Your Security Checklist

The more time I spend on my computer, the more concerned I get about security. Luckily, improving security on your computer isn't difficult. Here are some guidelines to keep your workstation safe.

  1. Don't click on popups or ads in your web browser. Links to free or very low cost offers are often carriers for malware or viruses. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  2. Be wary of unexpected emails. When I receive an email from someone I don't know, I check the directory to see if that person actually exists at the University. Never provide usernames or passwords in response to an email request, and be cautious about following links unless you're absolutely sure the email is valid.
  3. Patch your operating system. In Windows, this means automatic updates should be turned on. On a Macintosh, it means taking the time to install updates when prompted and reboot the computer
  4. Patch your applications, especially Java, Flash, and Acrobat Reader.  On Windows, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office will be patched automatically with the Windows updates. If you're prompted to update Java, Flash, Acrobat Reader, Firefox or Chrome on any operating system, take the time to download the application and reboot. My first reaction to those prompts is usually, "Now isn't a good time!"; my second reaction is that I don't want to be the person with malware or viruses. Take the time now, and consider it an investment in your security. If you're unsure about updating, try visiting to download any needed patches.
  5. Listen to your virus software. On this campus, Symantec should be installed everywhere. Its proactive scanning will catch viruses as they are downloaded to your computer. Set your mind at ease regarding viruses and malware by running scans each week.
  6. Finally, keep important data off of your computer as much as possible. Be as careful with university data as you are with your own personal information.

Questions about improving the security on your computer?  Look at the links below or contact your local IT support person. If you're in the College of Letters & Science at UW-Madison, you can contact Sue Weier,


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