A-Z Index of IT Support

Macintoshes need to be protected against online threats just like PC systems. The threat level is arguably smaller but you don't want to risk losing your irreplaceable data, do you?

Contact julian.jordan@bioch.ox.ac.uk for more details

Summary of how to keep your Mac secure

  1. Keep your operating system as up-to-date as is practical for the hardware you have. Support for legacy systems is discussed below
  2. Always install the offerings from all software updating mechanisms ("Software update", the Mac App store and individual program updates)
  3. Always use Anti Virus software
  4. Always have good passwords 

Keeping your Operating System up-to-date

We have a web page detailing current supported operating systems, which has a section detailing which macOS versions you are able to run on the Biochemistry network.

Apple's software update mechanism will "nag" you to do your updates, and if you look under the Apple Menu > App Store... you will see an indication of updates pending.

Launch the App Store program and click the "Updates" icon to update your Mac.

We give you a further incentive to keep up-to-date in that our VPN server senses your macOS and update level, and will refuse a connection if you are lagging behind.

Although we will always support the most recent macOS version, our standard advice is to wait about 6 months from the OS's launch and basically stick with the last-but-one macOS while the inevitable bugs in a new system are dealt with. 

Other Software Updates

In addition to OS X's "Software Update", individual programs themselves will often "nag" you to download and install an update.

Please don't ignore these warnings, they are trying to keep you safe.

If your Mac is being left in a non-updated state because of a forgotten admin password, please get in touch with Julian, as he'll be able to help you with this.

Anti-Virus software

The University gives you Sophos Anti-Virus for free, which you can download and install yourself via:


This will need to be reinstalled manually once a year due to licensing restrictions. This limitation can be overcome for fixed Departmental machines. Please get in touch with IT support who can install this special version for you.

Alternatively, Sophos give away a free (at time of writing) consumer version which is essentially the same and will always keep itself updated, barring a change to the operating system which leaves it "broken":


Either version of Sophos will display a shield icon in your Mac's menu bar. If this shield gains a cross in front of it, or the icon is grey in colour, then Sophos isn't updating. This could be due to no network connection but if you're connected and Sophos still can't update please get in touch with IT.

At the time of writing, there seems to be an issue whereby Macs which have been migrated across a few OS versions or have run "Migration Assistant" to transfer an older setup to a new Mac are left with a non-updating Sophos Anti-Virus, despite attempts to uninstall/reinstall etc.

The solution seems to be to turn off SIP mode on your Mac until such time as Sophos fix this bug.

Screen Locking

Recent macOS versions have a "Lock Screen" facility in the Apple Menu to safeguard your Mac when you're not in front of it.

Use this facility!

You can quickly invoke this screen locking by pressing ctrl-command-Q

Legacy Systems

If your Mac isn't able to run a recent, supported macOS version, you will not be able to make a full connection to the Biochemistry network, but there may be scope for moving files back and forth from a legacy machine using sftp or the like.

Contact IT Support for help 

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