Purdue News

December 6, 2005

Purdue security experts: 'Patch' to protect new computers

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – To protect the millions of computers flying off store shelves this Christmas shopping season, Purdue University computer security experts recommend that buyers acquire anti-virus software and regularly install "patches" offered by software manufacturers.

Many new computers come with anti-virus software installed. If a new computer does not, Information Technology at Purdue recommends installing a common brand, such as McAfee, Norton or Symantec. Because such protection is so important, Purdue provides anti-virus software to its students and employees free.

ITaP's chief information security officer Mike Carr said it's important to run scans with the software at least once a week to detect viruses, more often if the computer is connected to the Internet, and to update the anti-virus software regularly.

"Anti-virus software is only as good as its latest update," Carr said. "Most vendors release regular updates to meet the latest computer virus threats."

The patches issued by makers of operating systems, such as Windows XP and MacOS, will repair or improve the makers' software. Whether the patch is for an operating system or for a program application, such as word processing, Carr recommends obtaining and installing it.

"Many times these patches address security vulnerabilities that have been found after release of the software," Carr said. "Most computers come with documentation to teach users how to obtain update features."

More information on securing computers and data is available at the training resources on the SecurePurdue website.

Writer: Jim Schenke, (765) 494-6262, jschenke@purdue.edu

Source: Mike Carr, (765) 494-7363, mgcarr@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

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