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Taking Action to Protect Your System

September 12, 2003 :: Amy Phillips, ISC Technology Support Services

With books bought and classes in full swing, it's easy to lose track of how important it is to keep your computer ready to handle the demands of the academic year. Faculty and staff, please check with your Local Support Provider (LSP) before completing these steps, because local environments vary. In general though, cover these three basics and you're likely to keep your computer free and clear of viruses and worms this year:

  1. Make sure your operating system is up-to-date. It is very important to check for updates for your OS on a regular basis. Critical patches are released often, which if not installed, will put your computer at risk for hacker attacks and computer worms. The recent W32.Blaster.worm, forced many people to reformat their computers. So, stay safe! If you are a Windows user, visit Windows Update (www.windowsupdate.com) on a weekly basis and install critical updates. Have Windows XP? Then you can configure your system to check regularly on its own. Ask your LSP for details. Mac OS users can access Software Update through their Control Panel. Check at least once a week for new updates.
  2. Install antivirus software and keep definitions fresh. New viruses are released every day, so it is important not only to have antivirus software installed, but also to make sure that virus definitions are up-to-date. Symantec AntiVirus for Windows and Norton AntiVirus for Mac are Penn's recommended antivirus applications. Penn has a site license for this software, so it and unlimited updates are free for all people affiliated with the University. Check with your Local Support Provider to see if you should install a copy from the PennConnect CD (available from the Computing Resource Center). The software is pre-configured to check for new definitions daily. Faculty and Staff may also install a copy on one home computer. Information about which viruses are affecting campus is available on Penn's Virus Alerts web page.
  3. Get a PennConnect 2003 CD! In addition to antivirus software, the PennConnect CD has all kinds of goodies to get your computer up-to-date. New versions of Penn's Supported Products, such as Eudora, Netscape, Stuffit, Fetch and FileZilla and others are included. If you have an older computer, make sure to check system requirements on the jacket of the CD before installation. In addition, faculty and staff, please talk to your Local Support Provider to see if the updated software is appropriate for you. The CD is available from the Computing Resource Center.


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