How to protect your Laptop and Desktop

Laptop and Desktop owners should take great care to protect their machine and data. Protecting your machine will help reduce the risks of losing the machine, the cost of replacing the data contained on it and the possible statutory and legal implication which can sometimes cost more than having to replace the hardware itself.

Top tips

  • Update all devices, software, and plug-ins on a regular basis. Check for operating system, software, and plug-in updates often or, if possible, set up automatic updates  to minimize the likelihood of someone holding your computer or files for ransom.
  • Install protective software. Sophos is available as a free download for Windows and Macintosh computers from Software Downloads in UCD Connect. For Android mobiles and Linux Sophos Antivirus can be downloaded from the Sophos site. When installed, the software should be set to scan your files and update your virus definitions on a regular basis.
  • Choose strong passwords. Secure your device with a strong password (or PIN) using a combination of mixed case letters, numbers, and special characters, think passphrase not password. When setting up a Windows 10 device for work, we recommend that you use a local Windows account instead of a Microsoft Live personal account. Remember, only use your UCD Connect password for UCD Connnect.  
  • Backup, Backup, BACKUP! Backing up your machine regularly can protect you from the unexpected. Keep a few months' worth of backups and make sure the files can be retrieved if needed.
  • Control access to your machine. Don't leave your computer in an unsecured area, or unattended and logged on, especially in public places.  The physical security of your machine is just as important as its technical security. More tips on securing your laptop can be found here.
  • Use email and the Internet safely. Ignore unsolicited emails, and be wary of attachments, links and forms in emails that come from people you don't know, or which seem "phishy." Avoid untrustworthy (often free) downloads from freeware or shareware sites. To help you identify email scams, fake websites and social engineering threats we have an informative quiz to help you. Check it out here
  • Use secure connections. When connected to the Internet, your data can be vulnerable while in transit. While on the UCD campus use a wired connection or eduroam for wireless connection.  Use remote connectivity and secure file transfer options when off campus.
  • Protect sensitive data. Reduce the risk of identity theft by minimizing the storage of sensitive information. Securely remove sensitive data files from your hard drive, which is also recommended when recycling or repurposing your computer. Use the encryption tools to protect sensitive files you need to retain. For more infromation on encryption click here
  • Use desktop firewalls. Apple Macintosh and Windows computers have basic desktop firewalls as part of their operating systems. When set up properly, these firewalls protect your computer files from being scanned.