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IT Service Status
IT Service Status

New Endpoint Security Solution Introduced; “Home Use” Symantec User Next Steps

Effective Date: January 13, 2021

In December, Northwestern IT and technology leaders across the units and schools started preparing to transition to CrowdStrike Falcon, the University’s new endpoint security solution. CrowdStrike mitigates real-time cybersecurity threats and incidents, provides visibility and security posture through distributed management to the distributed IT staff and Northwestern IT, and protects systems against malware.

CrowdStrike is replacing three existing systems, most notably Symantec Endpoint Protection and Palo Alto Traps. The University’s agreements with Symantec and Palo Alto expire on June 30, 2021.

Impact on the University Community

While Northwestern IT is working directly with technology leaders across the University to transition unit- or school-managed machines to CrowdStrike, students, faculty, and staff using Symantec’s “home use” product are encouraged to consider alternative antivirus software.

The current “home use” product is part of the University’s expiring Symantec subscription and will be removed from the Available Software page on June 30, 2021. If you downloaded the “home use” product and want to ensure you have uninterrupted antivirus protection for your non-Northwestern machine, Northwestern IT encourages you to:

  • Uninstall Symantec Endpoint Protection from your non-Northwestern machines. Instructions are available online for Windows and Mac
  • Install alternative antivirus software on your non-Northwestern machines.
    • Windows users should utilize Microsoft Defender (formerly Windows Defender), the built-in antivirus solution for Windows.
    • Mac users should consider using free antivirus solutions like Sophos or Avast.

As you consider your options for securing non-Northwestern machines, Northwestern IT also encourages you to take an active approach in securing other devices, as well. The Internet of Things (IoT)—a term used to describe the ever-growing list of “smart” devices and other everyday objects connected to the internet—can make your life easier. However, while incredibly convenient and helpful, there is always some risk involved in using smart devices.

The new year is an ideal time to affirm you are protected from cybercriminals. To learn more about securing your personal IoT, read the Information Security Office’s latest guidance or visit Secure Northwestern’s Tips for Securing Your Devices page.

For more information on staying cyber secure, visit the University’s Secure Northwestern page.