Protecting Your Devices
Whether you have a laptop or desktop computer, a tablet, mobile phone or other device, it's important to keep them all secure. It's easier to prevent problems than to recover from them so check out these ways of protecting your devices
Digital devices are often the target of opportunistic thieves, so keeping a close eye on your equipment will save you a lot of time, money and disappointment in the long run. Here are some general tips for protecting your devices:
- Don't leave laptops or other devices unattended.
- Keep devices out of sight if possible, even in your room.
- Don't plug in USB drives or other media without antivirus software.
- Turn on tracking or other recovery methods.
- Make a note of serial numbers for your devices.
- Ensure you have insurance that covers your devices.
Be aware that devices left in university libraries and study areas are just as vulnerable to thieves as anywhere else. Take your items with you, or work with a study buddy who you trust to watch your belongings.
Passwords and PINs
Make sure that you put strong passwords on your devices, especially if you usually stay logged into your email and social media accounts. If someone takes your device and there's no PIN or password they'll be able to see and use everything that you access from it.
Updates are essential for all computers, tablets and smartphones. These can contain important updates or patches that correct security vulnerabilities. You can set software and apps to update automatically from most devices or set yourself a reminder to do it manually.
Not only does malware (malicious software) stop your device from working properly it can also allow people to access your personal data and prevent you getting access to your accounts. Check your antivirus software is up-to-date and set scans to run automatically.
Antivirus software for Windows is available for free installation - check first that you aren't already covered on your computer as this can slow down your device. Install Anti Virus software for free or visit the IT website for more advice.
In addition to keeping your belongings safe from theives, it's important to stay alert to digital security threats on your devices.
- Only install software, apps or download files from a reputable source and be careful where you click, not all links are what they appear to be. Sometimes even software that claims to fix viruses is bogus so be very suspicious of software suggestions that pop-up unexpectedly.
- Before you open a file (either from email, USB or other source) remember to run a virus checker on the file first. This is especially important if it's from someone you don't know or it something you weren't expecting.
- Links in emails aren't always what they appear to be and you should never enter your username and password details from following a link. If you need to log into an account, type in the proper site address and go directly to it. Giving away login details is the most common reason for student accounts to be disabled and you will need to contact IT to get your account reactivated.
Fixing an infected computer
If you believe that your device has already been infected with malware you should first try and disconnect it from any network or WiFi. Don't use any of your passwords on it, especially email and online banking accounts. You can follow the self-help manual and try to resolve it yourself or visit the IT website for more advice.