Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
This site contains links, tips, and tricks to protect your personal Microsoft Windows system (suitable for students and home computers). Contact ITS or your departmental IT personnel for configuring and securing any university computers/resources.
Microsoft Windows Patches
Microsoft provides the latest Windows program and security patches. The site will scan your computer and allow you to download any missing patches.
Make certain you perform most of the Critcal Updates and Service Packs.
It is recommended that you install a full antivirus package on your system. For information on FREE antivirus packages for home visit:
To scan your computer using a free online online virus scanner visit any of the following sites:
To see additional virus information, confirm hoaxes, or download additional clean-up utilities visit:
Malware/Spyware Removal Tools
Below is a list of malware removal tools you can try for free. These tools will help in the removal of viruses, trojans, spyware, etc.
ZoneAlarm offers a free, simple firewall program used to track the network traffic coming in and out of your computer. It can be configured to block or allow specific program connections.
Microsoft Windows XP users have a built-in firewall available. To activate the firewall:
Microsoft Windows Vista/7 users have a built-in firewall as well. To activate the firewall:
PLEASE NOTE: When you turn on your firewall, some internet applications may stop working. You may have to adjust your firewall to allow specific connections.
Automate Your Updates
It is possible to configure Windows to download updates and software patches automatically. Similarly, you should set your antivirus program to download virus updates on a regular basis.
Patch Your Software Applications
Any software application running on your machine may be vulnerable to hacking or capable of spreading viruses. Ensure that you are downloading patches and updates to your office applications (i.e., Microsoft Office) and utility programs (i.e., Adobe Acrobat Reader).
Set Secure Passwords
Many people set either blank passwords or easy-to-guess passwords. Unfortunately, this makes it easier for hackers. Password protect your logon, file and printer shares, and other resources on your computer.
PLEASE NOTE: Some systems generate a blank password for the Administrator account. This is an obvious security risk. For added protection, rename the default Administrator account and apply a secure password.
Disable Old Accounts
It is a good idea to disable (or delete) accounts that are no longer in use. Disable the Guest account if possible or, at the very least, set a secure password. Research any unknown accounts before disabling or deleting. To disable or delete accounts a user must have Administrator privileges.
Microsoft Windows has the ability to share files and printers across the network. If this is NOT a feature you need, turn it OFF. If this feature is not secured properly, it can make your system more vulnerable to viruses and hackers.
To disable file sharing in Microsoft Windows XP:
To disable file sharing in Microsoft Windows Vista:
Peer-to-peer file sharing programs, such as Limewire, can introduce security holes even when they are not running. It is highly recommend to uninstall these programs and avoid using them.
If you go looking for trouble on the Internet, you will probably find it. Be careful where you go, the links you visit, and the pop-ups that appear. Most web browsers have pop-up blockers built in.
Turn off your system when it is not in use for an extended period of time. If it is off, it cannot get hacked.