Safely Use Your Personal Computer

Protect your homework, research data and personal information by following these tips to secure your personal computer.

1. Keep UT work data on UT systems

Don't put UT work data on your personal computer.  UT policy requires that if you keep UT work data on your personal computer it must be encrypted and the encryption key escrowed with UT as well as following other University security requirements.  Please contact your local IT department if this is the case.

2. Use a non-Administrator account for your day to day work.

When browsing, reading email and editing docmuents use a non-Administrator account.  Your daily work should be done using an account that does not have Administrator access to your computer (should not be in the Administrator group).  Use two accounts!

How to Not Login as Administrator (and still get your job done)

3. Patch & Update

  • Setup automated Operating System updates & check to make sure the updates are working.
  • Update 3rd party software regularly such as Adobe Reader, Java, etc.
  • Just because you are on a Mac does not mean you are immune to attacks.  There have been several significant threats this year to Macs

4. Install Antivirus/Antimalware software

  • Microsoft Security Essentials (Win 7 & 8) or Windows Defender (Win 10) is free (
  • There are many products available.

5. Use Strong Passwords

  • Don’t share it!!
  • Passwords should be at least 8 characters long.  The longer the better.
  • Use a different Password for each account
  • Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.  Don’t use dictionary words.
  • Don’t use your name, account name or other names including your pet or favorite team name.
  • Use Phrases
    • For example, My son's birthday is 12 December, 2004 could become Mi$un'sBrthd8iz12124
    • For example, I love to play badminton could become ILuv2PlayB@dm1nt()n
  • Consider a password manager like LastPass, Dashlane or 1Password.

6. Backup your data!

  • Use an external drive AND the cloud
  • Put documents on Google Docs and use syncing and then backup your Sync folder.  Your UTmail (Google) mailbox, Google Drive, has unlimited storage.

7. Think Before you click!

  • Ignore unsolicited emails, and be wary of attachments, links and forms in emails that come from people you don't know, or which seem "phishy."
  • Don’t click links in Emails.  Type in URL’s in web browsers instead of following links in email. 
  • Avoid untrustworthy (often free) downloads from freeware or shareware sites.

8. Keep your computer physically secure

  • Don't leave your computer in an unsecured area, or unattended and logged on, especially in public places.
  • Logout or Lock your computer.

9. Stay on the right side of the law!

  • Pirating any copyrighted material like music, movies, books or software is illegal and against University Policy.

For more tips, please see:

UT Secure Yourself - quick guide

UT Information Security Office website:

Be safe out there!

ITG Service Desk


ECJ 1.226

301 Dean Keeton

Austin, Texas 78712

Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-noon; 1-5 p.m.

Setting up VPN

Many of our services require the use of VPN. Instructions for setting up VPN are available on the ITG Wiki