4th Golden Rule - Devices

Secure your personal computer

The University provides day-to-day security for work computers, which requires minimal user intervention, but we are all responsible for ensuring our personal devices are secure. There are multiple elements we need to layer together to secure our personal devices.

Physical Security

Protect against the possibility of burglary, theft or loss of your devices. On computers & laptops this will often be a password. On tablets and mobiles there are many options depending on the device including pin, pattern, fingerprint, or facial recognition.

Software updates & patches

Windows 10 is based on over 50 million lines of code - nothing that complex can be perfect. Inevitably, in any operating system whether Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android or Linux - there will be bugs and security loopholes that can be exploited by someone wanting to gain control of your device or access to your data. 

Software manufacturers release updates on a regular basis to address these issues and vulnerabilities, but they will typically only do this for the current version, and perhaps one previous version of their software.

We recommend you update your devices when new versions are released, and apply the security patches as they come out.


The purpose of a Firewall is to control the type of network traffic allowed between your computer or laptop and the internet. Windows and Mac operating systems have a built in Firewall - check the Privacy and Security settings to make sure it is switched on.


A computer virus is a program that is designed to infect a device and spread. The role of Anti-Virus software is to detect and stop viruses.

The latest versions of Windows have a built in anti-virus called Defender which is on by default and regularly updated.

While Mac's have many built-in security features, they do not include an anti-virus product. You can install Sophos Antivirus for Mac for free.

Malware Protection

Malware is an umbrella term which includes viruses, spyware, adware, ransomware, and other types of harmful software. Anti-virus software can spot some types of malware, but may miss things like adware (which can hijack your browser and throw up lots of adverts.)

If you believe your personal computer may have malware already, you can install MalwareBytes for free on personal Windows and MacOS computers to scan and clear the malware. For continuous protection there is a premium version of the product you can buy.