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/research data on UT systems

Don't put UT data on your personal computer.  UT policy requires that if you keep UT 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

  • Windows Defender (Win 10) is free (
  • There are many products available.
  • Run a malware scanner periodically. For example, Malwarebytes.

5. Use Strong Passwords


  • Create passwords that are at least 8 characters long. The longer and more random a password or passphrase, the better.
  • Use a different password for each account
  • Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Consider a password manager like LastPass, Dashlane or 1Password.
  • Consider using multi-factor authentication such as Google Authenticator, DUO, etc.


  • Never share your password!!
  • Never use your  name.
  • Never use easy to guess words or phrases such as your name, account name, the name of your pet or your favorite team. Make your password difficult to guess:
    • My son's birthday is 12 December, 2004 could become Mi$un'sBrthd8iz12124
    • I love to play badminton could become ILuv2PlayB@dm1nt()n
    • Collection of random words, like banana-road-knight-football

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 web addresses (URL’s) into web browsers instead of following links within an 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.

Be safe out there!

UT Secure Yourself - quick guide

UT Information Security Office

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