How to Keep Your Computer Secure


Here are some simple steps you can take for ensuring your computer stays safe and secure.

Better Passwords

Always have a password for logging in to your computers, laptops, and mobile devices, so only you have access. Keep them updated and ensure that you use follow security prescriptions for password creation.

Anti-Virus Software

Anti-virus software is a reliable form of protection from malware that is both free and readily available.

Frequent Backups

Saving multiple external backups or using programs like Workspace will preserve your most important files in the event of highly aggressive viruses (e.g., ransomware).


Encrypting your computer ensures that you are protected from security breaches in the event of loss or theft.

Automatic Updates

Allow automatic updates to guarantee that your operating system is up-to-date. This helps safeguard your computer from hackers.

If you have any questions or concerns about how to keep your computer safe, feel free to visit us at the Help Desk or message us through the contact form.


How can I create a secure password?

There are two types of strong passwords:

  • A password with a minimum of 8 characters using a combination of upper and lowercase characters. numbers, and symbols;
  • A passphrase with a minimum of 16 characters.

Though the first type of password is automatically reinforced by the Campus-Wide Login (CWL) , users should keep these prescriptions in mind when creating passwords for accessing Personally Identifiable Information. Do not share passwords across your university accounts or between your personal and university accounts.

For more guidance on how to create secure passwords, see UBC IT’s Guidelines for Password and Passphrase Protection.

When should I update my password?

Passwords should be updated annually, and you should avoid reusing your last 10 passwords. If you suspect that your information has been compromised or that your security has been breached, change your passwords immediately and notify UBC Information Security.

How can I keep my passwords secure?

Do not store your passwords where they may be accessed or seen by another user. Though we do not recommend that you write down your passwords, if you need to keep physical records of your login information, they should be locked away in safes or cabinets.

If you want to use an application for storing multiple passwords, also known as a password safe, please consult UBC IT’s Guidelines for Password Safes.

Note that you should never give your password to somebody asking for your information over the phone or through email. Even if they seem to come a reliable source, they may be attempts to steal your information. Arts ISIT will never ask you for your passwords or login credentials.

Anti-Virus Software

For UBC Computers

UBC offers Sophos Anti-Virus for all faculty and staff members. Note that anti-virus programs are generally incompatible with each other, so if you download Sophos, you should uninstall other pre-existing software.

Cost: Free

How to Download: Visit UBC IT’s Download Page

More Information: Who Can Use Sophos & System Requirements

For Personal Computers

For your home-use computer, try Microsoft Security Essentials for anti-virus protection. It is offered in over 30 languages and works on Windows 7 and Vista.

Cost: Free

How to Download: Visit Microsoft’s Download Page

Further Information: Overview, Features & Benefits, System Requirements