Obligatory requirements

Any computer using the College network must be kept up to date with the latest security patches, and have antivirus software installed.

Users should also set passwords for all their local device accounts, including the local Administrator account(s). Without these precautions computers can easily become targets for attack, leading to system slow-down, and worse, theft or loss of personal data.

Fortunately it is not hard to comply with these requirements - the St Catharine's IT Team are here to assist - and once the initial installation and configuration is done most modern computers will download and apply the latest security updates.

Security updates

Where possible, ensure your device is set to automatically download and install the latest security patches, for both the operating system and individual applications.

Security patches are updates that plug holes that would otherwise allow an attacker to gain control of the system in some way. The University is a big target for hackers and attempts are made many times a day. The University Information Service has a team dedicated to keeping the network secure, but as student devices are not managed by the University the responsibility is on students to keep their devices secure.

Windows 10 & 11 updates are obligatory and automatic. You don't need to do anything.

Windows 7 & 8 are no longer supported by Microsoft, and should be upgraded to one of the above versions immediately. Speak to the IT Team if you need help with this.

MacOS 11 (Big Sur) and newer are still supported by Apple, and updates are automatic. You don't need to do anything.

MacOS 10 (Catalina) and older are no longer supported and should be upgraded immediately. Speak to the IT team if you need help with this.

Linux users are required to know how to download and install their own updates. There is a local University Information Services FTP mirror of Debian and SUSE. Please contact the IT Team if you need help.


If you do not have antivirus software, you can obtain it from the University Information Services. Visit their pages to access and download antivirus for Mac users and for Windows users. Under the licence agreement it is free for the time you are at the University. 

Some new Windows PCs come with trial versions of virus-checkers installed. If you think this applies to your device, check the status of your trial (e.g. whether it is working, when it expires, how often it updates). If you are unsure you can bring the computer in to the IT Office for advice.

Before installing any antivirus software, be sure to uninstall any old antivirus software and reboot your machine first. Install the new virus checker immediately.


Not setting a password makes it easy for people to infiltrate your machine. Ensure your password is something secure, and not easily guessed. See the second part of this page (under 'Choosing a strong and memorable password') for advice.

You can get to your change your password from user accounts via Settings (Windows users) or System Preferences (Mac users).

Contact details

IT Office
Room K4 & K2
01223 (3)36438
Email us