Computer Security in Chemistry

Computer security is a growing concern for us here at the Chemistry Computer Facilities. We want your access to the Internet to be safe, secure, and productive. Viruses, spyware, and other threats known as malware are a major problem for everyone. In many cases, we have to rebuild your machine if a it becomes compromised by a malware threat. This may require significant downtime, especially if the Computer Facility has multiple machines to work on simultaneously. It's best to keep your machine updated with the latest operating system patches as often as possible to prevent malware attacks. Performing updates at least once a week is often enough to prevent security intrusions. The first time you run this kind of activity on a machine that hasn't been updated in a while, it may take a long time for the updates to complete, but the effort will pay great dividends in the long run. Keep in mind that new viruses are introduced each week and consequently new virus updates and software patches are also introduced soon after to counteract them.

We would like everyone in the department to keep all of their computers updated using the suggestions below.

Antivirus: Symantec Endpoint Protection

Symantec Endpoint Protection, enterprise edition (SEP), is the University's supported antivirus products for Windows and Mac OS operating systems. The software is site-licensed at Penn and available free of charge to members of the Penn community. Learn how to download and install it here.


Visit the Microsoft Download Center for security updates, patches, and more.

Macintosh OS X

Run Software Update to update your operating system with the latest patches.


Run Update Agent, Yum, or whatever program you use to update your operating system with the latest patches.

Secure Passwords

Your password is often your first (and only) line of defense against people looking to break into your account. For information on how to create a secure and memorable password, see this Penn Information Systems and Computing article or this informational comic.