Keeping your computer safe

Hackers and cyber evil-doers target individual computers to use as entry points to the university network. A compromised network puts all of MSU's research and the personal identification information of faculty, staff, students, and their families at risk. Keeping your computer safe is the first line of defense to protect all of us!

Four steps to safer computing:

  1. Apply all operating system updates immediately. How to
  2. Apply all application updates immediately. How to
  3. Enable your personal firewall. How to
  4. Install and properly configure antivirus and anti-spyware software (referred to collectively as anti-malware). How to

Please contact the UIT Service Desk (994-1777 or for additional assistance.

How to update your operating system

When your computer displays an alert box telling you an update is available (such as this icon Windows Update service icon for Windows 7), click and update immediately, restarting your computer when instructed.

For more information on how to update specific operating systems, use the following links:

How to update your applications

Update applications (programs) immediately when prompted and check for updates monthly if not prompted. Every program is different so we can't provide more specific instructions, but generally applications will notify you of any available updates when opened or have a "Check for updates" link listed in the Help menu.

Be aware that some malware (bad programs) display fake prompts to trick you. If in doubt call the Help Desk (994-1777) to check.

Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 users can use the built-in Windows Update service to look for all Microsoft application updates such as Office, as well as for driver and system updates.

The SANS Ouch Newsletter provides a list of links to current application updates (see Patches and Updates Roundup section) for a wide range of programs. Check monthly!

Hint: Set up a recurring appointment in your calendar to remind yourself to update your programs!

How to enable your personal firewall

For Windows and Macs, go into the computer help system and search on "firewall" for step-by-step instructions.

NOTE for Windows Users:If the firewall settings are grayed out it means that you are on a Windows domain and the firewall is configured and maintained for you by the system administrators.

Please contact the UIT Service Desk (994-1777) for additional assistance on enabling Windows or Mac firewalls.

For assistance with Linux go to the website for the version you are running for more information.

How to install and properly configure anti-malware

Go to to download and install a free copy of McAfee anti-malware software.

Please contact the UIT Service Desk (994-1777) if you have any questions or need assistance.