Secure Your Computer


Many of us keep important documents and information on our computers. These may range from work related documents to personal ones. In order to keep these documents and other personal information safe, we must first secure the devices we use to hold them. This article will go over steps that you can take to make sure your device is properly protected against various types of malware. 

Critical Concepts

Even though you are securing your device, data on your machine can still be corrupted or lost.  We recommend regularly backing up data on you machine to an external hard drive or cloud storage.

Steps to Take

1. Set a password for your computer

Not only is it important to have a password on your computer to make sure you are the only one able to log into it, but it is also important so that it reduces the likelihood of other pieces of software making changes on your computer.

To set a password on Windows 10:

  1. Click on the Start Menu icon on the bottom left
  2. Search for Change your password and click on the result that pops up
  3. Click on the Add (if you do not have a password set) or Change option
  4. Follow the on screen steps to update/set your password

To change a password on Mac:

When setting up your account on a Mac, you will be required to set a password for your account.  These are instructions if you would like to change your password.

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click on Users & Groups
  3. Click on the lock icon on the bottom right corner
    • If you already have a password set, you will be prompted to enter it
  4. On the left, click on the account you would like to set a password for 
  5. Select Change password... to set a new password for your device


2. Make sure your firewall is turned on

Having your firewall properly set up will restrict the access of any malicious applications that make it onto your computer. 

Note: If you have an antivirus on your computer, you may see a message saying that your firewall is being managed by it. If this is the case, then your firewall is properly set up.

To turn on firewall on Windows 10:

  1. Click on the Start Menu icon on the bottom left
  2. Search for Windows Firewall and click on the Windows Firewall result
  3. Click on Turn Windows Firewall on or off on the left
  4. Please click on Turn on Windows Firewall for all three options (Domain network settings, Private network settings, Public network settings)

To Turn on firewall on Mac:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click on Security & Privacy
  3. Click on the Firewall tab
  4. Click Turn On Firewall
    • You may need to click on the lock on the bottom left and enter your password to make changes

3. Install the latest updates for your computer

Installing updates on Windows 10:

  1.  Click on the Start Menu icon on the bottom left
  2. Search for Check for updates and click on the Check for updates result 
  3. Click on the Check for updates box if it does not start automatically
  4. Allow the updates to download and install (You may be prompted to restart your computer)
  5. After you restart your computer, continue to check for updates until you are completely up to date

Installing updates on Mac:

All updates on Mac after OS X version 10.9 are free via the Mac App Store. To install the latest updates for your Mac, open the App Store and go to the Updates tab. This will contain all of the latest updates for your operating system. If you Mac is below version 10.9, please contact the ITS Service Desk in order to see what options you have.


4. Install the latest updates for all of your software

Just like how your operating system will be updated to give you the latest features and security patches, most pieces of software that you use will do the same. It is highly recommended that you keep your software up to date to reduce the risk of getting your computer compromised through them. Each piece of software is slightly different, but the steps to update them should be very similar.

  1. Open the software that you would like to update
  2. Locate its settings page/menu (This is the most likely place version information will be located)
  3. Click on the update/check for updates button

Since each piece of software is unique, these instructions may not fit every single one. If you have trouble updating a specific piece of software, contact the ITS Service Desk directly for assistance. 

5. Keep an up to date antivirus on your computer

A secure and up to date antivirus will help monitor your computer for any malicious activity. Here is a list of recommended antivirus software:

If you still have questions or need additional assistance, please contact the ITS Service Desk. You can call us at (858) 246-4357, email us at, or submit a ticket at