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3.0 - Updated on 2022-04-26 by Matthew McGuire

2.0 - Updated on 2021-04-19 by Kolin Hodgson

1.0 - Authored on 2020-03-16 by Paul Drake

Guidelines for Personal Device Security

Last update 2020-04-28 KH

Using your personal devices to connect to Notre Dame systems requires you to secure your computer from cyber attacks and keep data private. Please use the following guidelines to secure all personal devices that connect to Notre Dame systems.


  1. Enable automatic updates on your device.
    New operating system and software vulnerabilities are found daily. The only way to be sure your data is safe is to keep your system up-to-date. Enabling automatic updates makes this process easy for you.

    1. To enable automatic updates on your Mac: https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/get-macos-updates-mchlpx1065/mac
    2. To enable automatic updates on your Windows system: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4027667/windows-10-update
    3. To enable automatic updates on your iPhone: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202180#automatic
    4. To enable automatic updates on your Android phone: https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/113412?hl=en
  2. Update your web browser.
    Your web browser is one of the most common targets for attack, so keeping it patched to the latest release is critical to protecting your computer and you.
    1. To enable automatic updates for Google Chrome: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95414
    2. To enable automatic updates for Firefox: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/update-firefox-latest-release
  3. Install antivirus software and keep it up-to-date.
    Computer viruses (malware) are increasingly potent and many have the potential to completely destroy your data or steal your identity and money. Protect yourself by installing good antivirus software and keeping it current with the latest virus definitions.
    1. For Windows 10
      Enable Windows Defender in Windows Security:
      1. Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security
      2. Enable Windows Defender
    2. For Mac
      There are several good antivirus software packages for macOS. Some of the most reputable vendors (in no specific order of preference) are the following: Avast, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, McAfee, Norton, and Sophos.
  4. Enable the local firewall.
    Many attacks on your computer can come from your local network. Hackers often use compromised computers to launch attacks on other computers either directly or through malware infections, even on your home network! To keep your computer safe from network attacks, enable your computer’s firewall.
    1. On macOS:
      1. System Preferences > Security (& Privacy) > Firewall
      2. Unlock the Pane by clicking the paddle lock
      3. "Turn on Firewall" or "Start"
    2. On Windows:
      1. Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security
      2. Enable Application Firewall
  5. Enable the screen lock.
    Direct physical access to unattended devices is often a mode of attack, or can subject devices to misuse and exposure of your private information. Protect yourself by enabling screen locks with short timeouts for all of your devices.
    1. On macOS:
      1. Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy
      2. Click the General tab and select the option to require password after sleep or screen saver begins
    2. On Windows systems, to automatically set the screen lock when the screen saver starts:
      1. Control Panel > Appearance & Personalization > Change screen saver
      2. Check the box for On resume, display logon screen
    3. On iPhones: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204060#setup
    4. On Android phones: https://support.google.com/android/answer/9079129?hl=en
  6. Use a password manager.
    It often feels like we cannot win with passwords; they are either easy to remember but not strong enough, or strong but impossible to remember. You may benefit from using a password manager. Password managers allow you to save all of your login credentials and other sensitive information, e.g security questions, in one place. They also speed up the process of logging into websites, making using strong passwords a breeze. Some of the most popular are 1Password, LastPass, and Dashlane.