Network Essentials

The main issues are viruses, hacking, forbidden software and forbidden activities.

You MUST implement virius protection and high-priority updates on your computer:

Virus protection

All computers (including Apple Macs) are vulnerable to viruses. To protect yourself and others, you MUST install a virus checker and keep it up to date.

Image of computer screen showing a big tick

Many computers are sold with anti-virus programs installed; these can need activating (turning on) and they do expire (cease becoming aware of new viruses) after 30 or 90 days. A computer whose anti-virus program is more than a day out of date is not protected!

  • ££: You can pay a subscription, typically £50/year, to have an anti-virus program (e.g. Norton, McAfee). If you have one of these programs on your computer and have not paid a subscription, you MUST check that it is still receiving updates!
  • Free: you can download a free auto-updating anti-virus program from Microsoft, which is entirely satisfactory for Windows machines.
  • Free: you can manually download and install the Sophos for Mac.
  • You can also download free Virus protection from Central University IT Services 

There is no excuse not to have an up-to-date virus checker.

High-priority updates

All versions of Windows (and other operating systems) are out of date before they leave the factory. Loopholes are discovered which are exploited by hackers (malicious programmers) to gain control over your machine and its local network.

Screenshot showing the words 'Windows is up to date There are no updates available for your computer'

It does affect you! Hackers could record the keystrokes you use to log into your Internet bank account or simply erase everything on your hard disk.

It is mandatory that you keep your computer up to date with security patches. For Windows™ this is simple: open up Internet Explorer, click on Tools/Windows Update on the menu bar and follow the instructions for your machine to be scanned. You will get a report in three sections:

  • High-priority updates — you must install these
  • Windows updates — you can optionally install these; ignore the foreign language options
  • Driver updates — these can cause problems

Once you have installed a ‘High-priority update’ and restarted your computer, you should immediately check again to see if more are needed to be downloaded.

With Windows there is an Automatic Update program which flashes a yellow shield symbol near the clock display. alerting you that there are new critical updates to install. Do install these updates as soon as you are alerted.

Security patches are free; there is no excuse for not to keep your machine up to date. The ICT Department reserve the right to deny access to any computers that do not have up-to-date firewalls, security patches and service packs, and up-to-date virus control software that is being updated automatically. This applies to all College Members and devices they use. 

Forbidden software and forbidden activities

See Computing Rules.