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Information Technology

Security Checklist for Personal Computers

Note: Under a new university-wide contract, Sophos Intercept X Advanced is replacing McAfee endpoint protection at UMass Amherst. More information will follow.
For questions, contact the IT professional in your department as applicable, or IT User Services.

Stay on track with the latest security requirements by checking off all the items on this list. 

1. I use anti-virus & anti-malware software.

Use the University recommended free anti-virus (Sophos Intercept X with EDR) and anti-malware software to run a full scan of your computer at least once a month. Make sure you have the latest version of the software, your virus definitions are set to update automatically, and on-access scanning is enabled. Beware of fake anti-virus software and other rogue programs. Always download software from reputable sources.
Download & Install Antivirus Software

2. My operating system is updated.

Enable automatic updates and receive critical patches as soon as they are released. To keep your computer's operating system up-to-date, go to:
Macintosh: Apple > Software Update...

3. My software is updated.

Regularly update third-party software, especially your Web browser, Java, and Adobe products.

4. My computer has a User Account & an Administrator Account.

Create a Limited User Account for everyday use and keep the Administrator access for special tasks (e.g., software installation). Learn how to set up User Accounts from:
Protect Against Viruses & Security Threats

5. I protect myself against phishing scams & identity theft

Never provide passwords or other sensitive information in response to an email or enter them on an untrusted site.
Protect Yourself Against Phishing Scams & Identity Theft 

6. I clear my private data from Web browsers.

Web browsers often store information from Web sites you visit (e.g., cookies). Clear this information often, especially if you use a public or shared computer, or set up your browser to do it automatically. Check the browser’s help for instructions. Never save passwords in a Web browser.

7. I create strong passwords.

Your IT Account password should be different from your other passwords. Build your passwords using UMass IT’s Rules for Passwords and remember to change them quarterly.

8. I use a password-protected lock screen.

'Locking' the screen or using a password-protected screen saver allows you to lock your computer without shutting it down when stepping away from your desk. Press the Windows key + L to lock your Windows computer. To protect your cell phone data, enable a passcode and set it to auto-lock. 

9. I only download software from reputable sources. 

Malware, which includes viruses, spyware, adware, and other malicious software, is often disguised as, or bundled with, legitimate software. Only download software from sources that you trust.  

10. My firewall is turned on.

Most computers have a built-in firewall that blocks unauthorized access. Make sure your firewall is on and keep it up-to-date. For more information, check your operating system’s Web site.

11. I use eduroam for wireless on campus.

eduroam is fast, convenient, and secure. Use our setup wizard to configure your computer, then connect automatically from any wireless coverage area on campus.
Wireless Network Access

12. I don’t store sensitive data on USB drives.

Any portable storage device can be easily lost or stolen. For grades, finances, and other important data, use a more secure storage space, such as Box. For University data, talk to your supervisor about recommended storage. 
Box: Secure Online Storage

13. I don’t leave my devices unattended.

Purchase a security cable for your laptop.

14. I have registered my laptop and mobile devices with the UMass Amherst Police (UMPD)

I will file a police report if any of my devices are lost or stolen. 
UMass Amherst Police Department | Project Protect

15. I record my device information.

Record the make, model, and 12-character identifier (a.k.a. MAC Address) of your computing devices. This may help locate them if they are lost or stolen. To find a device’s MAC Address, check UMass IT’s instructions, the product manual, or packaging.
Find Your MAC Address