Three Easy Steps

1. Operating systems

One of the most effective methods of keeping your computer safe is to keeping your software updated. Much of the software on your computer is constantly being improved to protect against security vulnerabilities. Some of the software checks and updates automatically while others require a manual process. In some ways, a computer’s ability to stay secure is only as good as its last update.

It is recommended that your computers operating system be setup to update automatically. Apple and Microsoft operating systems have the ability to download and install updates automatically. It is recommended for most users to take advantage of this. Programs used every day such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat and Flash, QuickTime, and should be checked regularly to see if patches are available. Web browsers should be kept up to date as well.

2. Antivirus Software

Antivirus software offers some protection from viruses and malicious programs that run from within. Your security software persistently needs to be updated at regular intervals. As new threats emerge, your antivirus software needs to be updated with the latest patches in order to work properly. Your security software should also be set up to scan your computers at regular basis. Manual scans are always a good idea when receiving email attachments, web downloads, and media. Virginia Tech offers anti-virus software to employees and students.

3. Firewalls

Firewalls restrict unauthorized intrusions while allowing authorized communications. Firewalls can be in the form of hardware or software. Usually hardware firewalls are associated with a network. A common type of hardware firewalls are often found in routers. Software firewalls come in the form of applications that run on your machine. While firewalls help block many attacks from the outside, they are not effective against viruses that attack your computer from within.