Communication Services & Information Technology
University of California
Communication Services & Information Technology

Computer Security

Security Guidelines for 4H and Volunteer Computers

You should be especially careful with computers in your offices that are used by 4-H members, volunteers or the public. It is easy to innocently download a virus, spyware or other malware.  Here are security guidelines for computers used by 4H students or parents, Master Gardeners, other volunteers or the public.

Do not use Windows 95, Windows 98, ME,  NT, or Mac OS 7, 8 or 9 computers. Microsoft and Apple no longer provide security patches for these operating systems. You can not use them for any computer that accesses the Internet or is attached to your local network.
Set up the computer with a Limited User account for everyday use, and a separate Administrator account that has full privileges. This is especially true for Windows XP computers. Vista already has user account security built in. 4H members and volunteers should use the Limited user account and not have access to the Administrator account, which is to be used by ANR staff to install software or make system changes. Assign names and passwords to these accounts. Do not use the same password for both accounts. For apple computers, set up Standard accounts versus Administrator accounts. 
A Limited user account reduces the possibility of viruses installing themselves either from email attachments or from visiting a website with malicious content. Here is a step by step guide to setting up a Limited user account in WindowsXP:
Turn on the computer's firewall. Make sure the built in firewall on the computer is turned on. For Windows computers you will find it in the Security Center Control Panel. On Macintosh computers you'll find it in System Preferences under Internet and Network or under Sharing.
Set up automatic OS Updates. Set up the computer to automatically check for and install software patches that fix security flaws in the operating system. This is done through automatic updates for Windows and Macintosh computers. As much as possible any applications you have on your computer should be updated with security patches as well. Microsoft applications like Word and Excel can be updated automatically when the operating system is updated. Just go to Windows update and if you see a message saying Get Microsoft Update select it and follow the instructions. If you don’t see it you probably already have Microsoft Update. For Windows computers:

For Macintosh computers: Go to the "software update" pane in System Preferences.

Use anti-virus software. You need to have anti-virus software running and up-to-date. UCD purchased five-year licenses for us for Sophos, which includes both anti-virus and some anti-spyware protection. You can use Sophos at home too. Download it from:
Use anti-spyware software.  We also recommend you use anti-spyware software on your computer. For Windows computers you can download Windows Defender from the Microsoft website at:
Another anti-spyware programs is Ad-Aware by Lavasoft:

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