Privacy and Information Security | University of Illinois

Week 1: Secure Your Devices

Securing your computing devices will help protect your information. Learn some easy steps you can take to be secure.

One of the most important pieces to improving online security is keeping any computers and other electronic devices secure. All of our various computing devices give hackers more targets to attack. With all of our devices they have more chances to steal our personal information and perhaps even our money. Out of all our devices, computers are relatively easy to secure: turn on automatic updates, install antivirus software, and don't run as administrator all the time. Doing these just these three things will dramatically decrease your chances of having your computer compromised. Keeping things like mobile phones and tablets up-to-date is just as important, but these devices also have an increased chance of theft, so physical security is a key piece as well.

What can you do to secure your devices?

Mobile devices 

Learn more about mobile device security.

Secure your computer

Learn more about securing your computer.

Keep your computer updated

Make sure you are using a currently maintained operating system. If you are still running Windows XP or OS X 10.6, it is time to upgrade. Hackers know out-of-date computers are online and, more importantly, they know that the operating system developers aren't releasing security updates for these computers. Anyone using an unmaintained operating system is putting any information stored on that computer at risk. The computer could also be compromised and use to attack other computers online.

Once you're on a maintained operating system you want to make sure that you get automatic updates and patches to keep your computer secured against any vulnerabilites and bugs that were found since the operating system was released.

Keep your software updated

Out-of-date software can be as dangerous as an out-of-date operating system. Making sure all of the software on your computer is updated can be hard, but there are tools like Secunia PSI that will help.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about cyber security, please email for more information.

Follow @citessecurity on Twitter for awareness and news.

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