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Find this information under ITBasics on the DiscoverIT page in My iMpact.




  Keeping Your PC Secure Takes Knowledge & Vigilance

It takes a certain level of vigilance to secure your property. You may only need a lock and an alarm system to keep your home secure. Threats to your home do not change much over time. Computer security is a moving target with vulnerabilities, threats and ways to counter threats constantly changing. With that in mind, please check this site periodically for updates.


The purpose of this page, is to provide security-related computer information for users' personal or home computer systems. It is NOT intended for Ross Business School systems. Problems with Ross Business School systems should be referred to the helpdesk (; Phone: 615-3000).

If you are unsure whether the system you are using is a Business School system, contact the helpdesk before following any of the suggestions on this page.

 Properties of PC Security

  • Confidentiality – My data is only available to me and others I authorize.

  • Integrity – My data is as I expect it to be.

  • Availability – My data is available when I want it, how I want it.

System vulnerabilities lead to threats and exploits. Our systems are vulnerable to the extent that they do not possess the properties listed above.


There are many sources for definitions of threats, none definitive.  We’ll go with Wikipedia …

What will protect your system?



Use Strong Passwords

We have found that the most secure passwords are long phrases with a few caps and non-alphanumeric characters. You might use something like – I bet you can’t guess this password! (But don’t copy this one).

Change Your Password When You Change Your Clocks!

To protect your privacy and security, we recommend that you change your UMICH Kerberos password once every six months. Why not change your password when you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time?

How to Change Your UMICH Kerberos Password
For help selecting a secure password, see Choosing and Changing a Secure UMICH Password (R1162).
You can change your UMICH Kerberos password on the web at this URL:


 Additional Resources

Online Resources

The Goal of Computer Security or What's Yours is Yours Until You Say Otherwise  – by Larry Rogers produced by the CERT® Coordination Center at Carnegie Melon University. CERT/CC was the first computer security incident response team.

CERT/CC – This is very through and informative but does not cover Adware/Spyware

Microsoft – Covers all major security areas and is kept up to date

U of M – Virus Busters – General and U of M related tips

U of M – ITSS  A good collection of security related links

Phishing Quiz

Anti-Phishing Phil - Best utility available for blocking phishing sites

Recommended Reading

Surviving PC Disasters, Mishaps and Blunders -  Lots of suggestions to keep your system up and running.

Spies Among Us – Excellent overview of intelligence methods and risk management. Contains tips for protecting your data.

No Place to Hide – An anecdotal picture of the current state of corporate/government surveillance and data mining.  Covers Choice Point, Lexis and the like.




 Best Practices for PC Security

Switch from Windows Update to Microsoft Update

Microsoft Update is a Microsoft Web site that offers the same downloads that are available from Windows Update—plus the latest updates for Microsoft Office and other Microsoft programs.

When you visit Microsoft Update, the site scans your computer and gives you a list of updates relevant to your computer and its configuration. You then decide which updates you want to download and install.

Running Windows XP?  Update to  Internet Explorer 7

Hardware Firewall

Home users that are running a network will already have a gateway router which has a built in hardware firewall. If you have a cable modem but are not running a network, you can still use a gateway router to provide firewall protection.  Any wired or wireless router will fit the bill.  Wireless routers also have a wired Ethernet port. Disable the wireless portion of your router on installation if you will not be using it.

VPN Access (Virtual Private Network)

For Faculty and Staff - Use the Business School VPN for secure remote access to Outlook and network drives.

Virus Protection

U of M provides McAfee VirusScan Enterprise + AntiSpyware Enterprise 8.5.0i for free to the university community. VirusScan Enterprise provides protection from Virus and Trojans. It also provides some protection from Adware/Spyware worms and hackers.

The Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool also provides a level of virus protection. It installs with Windows Automatic Update.

Adware/Spyware Removers and Blockers

Please beware that there are many poor performing and illegitimate adware/spyware removers and blockers. It’s worth glancing at the above link just to get a picture of how many bad products are out there.

By consensus of the anti-Adware/Spyware community, here are the best choices for Adware/Spyware removers and blockers*:

*We strongly suggest having only one combination remover and blocker installed on your system at a time.

Please be aware that it may take more than one program to remove Adware/Spyware and get rid of symptoms. There are times when even running several anti-Adware/Spyware programs will not clean your system. When this occurs you can try HiJackThis with the help of a “Quick Start” and user forums.

As you might surmise, using HiJackThis can be quite involved. Adware/Spyware is insidious and can become very entrenched. It is the most widespread security threat today.

Safer Browsing and Emailing

You are the first line of defense for your system.  If you have any doubts about opening an email attachment, clicking on a pop-up or downloading some software, JUST SAY NO. Through whatever means you have at your disposal, verify that what you are about to click on is safe and legitimate.

Spam Blockers

  • Brightmail – For Faculty, Staff and PHD Exchange email accounts

  • U of M Spam Busters – For any mail forwarded through your address

Backup important data frequently

You can burn CDs, use a USB flash drive or an external hard drive. If something is valuable to you, please take the opportunity to make copies of it.