OIT Shares Computer Security Tips for Break

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Winter break is the time of year when faculty and staff enjoy a week away from campus — leaving thousands of desktop computers unattended.       

Before you leave for the break, there are a few things you can do to keep your computer and computer files and the networks we operate on secure. Here are some tips from the Office of Information Technology:

  • Register your personal computers with the Georgia Tech Police Department here. Also, activate location services on your laptops when possible. Mac laptops, for example, can be tracked using when location services are enabled.
  • Turn off your work computer during the break, unless told to do otherwise by your unit’s IT staff. If you can’t turn off your computer, log out of all accounts. If your machine must remain on and you can’t log out before leaving, enable a screensaver with password protection or lock your computer when you leave. Windows users can select a password-protected screensaver from Start > Control Panel > Display > Screensaver. Windows users can lock their computers by pressing the Windows Key + L. Mac users should simply log out or set up a password-protected screensaver and activate it.
  • Lock your workspace when you leave.
  • Check with your unit’s IT staff to ensure that your computer receives security updates and has the necessary antivirus security software installed. Users should also make sure they have the Tech-provided antivirus software suite (McAfee) installed on personal computers. If not, download it for free here.
  • Use Tech’s virtual private network (VPN). To use any of Georgia Tech’s remote desktop or file-sharing programs from your home computer, you’ll have to connect to the Institute’s VPN first. For information on installing it, click here. (You can access Tech’s web-based services, such as My GaTech, TechWorks and T-Square without connecting to the VPN.)
  • Change your password before it expires, so you do not experience any service interruption. If you forget your password, you can reset it yourself by having security hints defined in PassPort. To set up questions or reset your password, click here.  
  • Take all personal and work laptops and mobile devices home over the break. Also, ensure that the password function and device location services have been activated on all of these items.



  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Amelia Pavlik
  • Created:12/10/2012
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016