Protect your devices and data

Know how to keep your devices secure, and how to protect yourself from online threats. These essential skills will help keep your data safe.

Anti-virus and more

You need to use anti-virus (AV) software on your computer, to:

If you already have AV software, it must be active (receiving regular software updates). If your trial or licence has expired, you are no longer protected so need to upgrade it or replace it as soon as possible.

Free anti-virus for your personal laptop/device

Don't install more than one anti-virus program. There are lots of free products covering different devices, such as:

University-owned Macs, PCs and laptops

Remove outdated anti-virus software

In the list of programs, check for Norton, McAfee and other AV programs:

  • Windows 10: click Start, SettingsSystem. Select Apps & features from the left to see all programs and choose one to uninstall.
  • macOS: to remove a program drag it to the trash can on the dock.

Run the regular security updates

Your device should get regular security updates. Make sure you run them: don't turn them off or ignore them.

Secure your data

Use these guides for your devices, to check that your data is protected.

Adware and spyware protection

Adware causes intrusive advertising pop ups. Spyware will access your data discreetly for financial gain.

You can be infected unknowingly, so it's good to scan for spyware regularly using a tool such as Malwarebytes (for Windows).

Spybot Search and Destroy, if updated weekly, can help you remove adware and spyware if you get infected.

Ransomware protection

Malicious software that encrypts any files you have access to (including files on the Kent network or services like Dropbox and OneDrive) and demands payment for you to access them again.

Back up your work regularly - save to the University network to avoid losing weeks or months of work.

If you back up on a device such as a memory stick or USB hard drive, be aware that all your backup files may be encrypted too, leaving you with no way to get them back.

Follow our email safety tips and stay vigilant

Shared network drives

University schools and departments: we can help you recover data that was stored on the University network (click Systems services and backup data restore). There is a charge if Information Services staff retrieve the files for you.

If your device might be infected

  • Disconnect from the University network immediately.
  • Run a security scan with your anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
  • Don't use the University network until you have a clean anti-virus report.
  • If in doubt, contact the IT Service Desk for advice.Our staff can help you remove the ransomware and advise you how to recover files. The more often you back up your files, the easier this will be.
  • If you’re worried your password may have been compromised, contact us and change your password immediately.

Lost your device?

If your device is lost and might have been stolen, follow the steps below.

  1. Report it to Campus Security and the local police to get a crime number
  2. Change your IT Account password and bank, credit cards, PayPal, iTunes, email
  3. Activate tracking software (if installed)
  4. For phones, send a remote wipe signal to remove your data:
    Login to your email from the web. Go to Settings > Options > Phone > Wipe Device
  5. Contact your phone network provider and ask them to block your device
  6. If registered with a personal property register advise them of the loss

Staff PCs

University PCs: we can manage them for you

To make sure your school/department complies with security policy and data protection law, use the IS managed service for University-owned desktops and laptops:

Personal laptops and desktops used for work

It is strongly advised that University work should (where possible) always be done on University PCs / devices. If you are not able to use a University-owned desktop/laptop:  

If you connect your phone or tablet to University WiFi or email you need to protect that too: how to protect your phone or tablet

Manage your own departments PCs

If you have this responsibility, you need to:


Find out all the ways you can get in touch:

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