Student on laptop.

Computer Security

Please remember to make appointments with our help desks to get one-on-one consultation that will provide accurate information about computer problems and securing your computer. We will help you learn how to help yourself.

Students are Responsible for Keeping Their Computers:

  • Virus free
  • Secure from compromise (giving others access to your computer and files)

Facts About Music/File Sharing Programs:

  • Sharing music, videos, and copyrighted materials is against University Policies and most federal and state laws. In many cases it is illegal.
  • There are consequences of sharing music and video electronically.
  • Sharing music and video electronically can result in a loss of privileges to PSU wireless or use your room connection. If caught, you may face The Office of Student Conduct.
  • Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is actively looking for people that share and download copy written materials to prosecute.
  • Most digital media sharing sites or Trackers require you to share media in order to download.
  • File sharing programs like Bit Torrent, BearShare, LimeWire and others automatically setup media sharing by default when you load the program, operate in the background, and use bandwidth without your knowledge.

NOTE: The only solution to this is to uninstall all file sharing programs from your computer.


  • We will not contribute to sharing copyrighted materials such as music, movies, newspaper articles etc., over the University networks.
  • The FBI warnings shown on movies pertain to other copyrighted materials as well.
  • We will not setup or backup students’ machines that share files.
  • Sharing folders on your hard drive leaves you open to viruses and others that will compromise the security of your machine.

Tips For Securing Your Computer

  • Penn State Network Security Policy AD-20 requires residents to use a password to log on to your computer when connected to and are using PSU networks.
  • Make sure all user accounts use passwords.
  • Install critical Microsoft updates weekly, even if you have your machine set to automatically update because some spyware or viruses disable this feature.
  • Do not allow other people to use or share your computer and do not share passwords especially your PSU Access ID.
  • Lock your computer when you are not in front of it and turn off your computer when you transport it from your room.
  • Use a firewall program to protect your computer and log compromise attempts.
  • Do not use or setup your computer to share your connection through Internet Sharing.
  • Be fully aware that the Housing Connection Agreement binds you to all University Networking Policies.

Note: You are responsible for all the activity of your computer on the network/Internet. If you allow someone to use your computer or do not secure it and someone uses your computer, you are still accountable for all activity or for any charges that may apply from any illegal activity.

Tips For Keeping Your Computer Virus Free

  • Make sure your computer is using a firewall program and maintain it. Windows has a build-in firewall. Symantec Antivirus installs a more advanced firewall on your device.
  • Download Penn State’s Symantec Corporate Edition Antivirus Software for free (always uninstall any currently installed antivirus program before you install a new or different one).

Uploading Activity

As of the beginning of fall semester 2012, the University is no longer imposing limits on the amount of bandwidth used by each residence hall network connection. However, we do continue to monitor the amount of traffic uploaded and downloaded by each residence hall connection. We do not in any way monitor content, but we do record the amount of traffic sent and received by each connection.

We remind you to continue to use the shared network resource in a responsible manner, abiding by all University policies and laws related to downloading music, videos, and other copyrighted material. Penn State reserves the right to restrict access to the network, as well as take other disciplinary actions, for individuals whose activities unduly impact network performance, violate University policy, or break the law.

Learn more about copyright guidelines.

Read Penn State’s AD20 Computer and Network Security policy.