It is imperative for Students, Faculty, and Staff to take any and all measures to protect their equipment from viruses, malware, and other Internet threats. Everyone should:
1) Have up-to-date virus protection: Everyone should have a current anti-virus program with an active subscription to update virus signatures. There are many commercial Anti-Virus packages available such as McAfee, Symantec Security Suite, Kaspersky, and others reviewed here. There are also free antivirus programs available that do a good job of protecting your system. These include Avast, AVG, ClamWin, and others. If you suspect that you have a virus (slow, unresponsive, unexplained, poltergeist-like activity) contact the IT department for help immediately.
2) Keep your operating system updated. Viruses and worms use known Windows vulnerabilities to infect
computers that don't have latest patches installed. To keep your system safe and up to date:
-Open "Internet Explorer".
-Click on "Tools" menu bar and select "Windows Update".
-Follow the instructions provided on Microsoft's web site.
Or just open this link windowsupdate.microsoft.com using Internet Explorer.
3) Install a personal computer firewall. There are many versions and vendors. Some are even available for free - for example ZoneAlarm created by Zone Labs is available for a free download from this web page: Zone Labs. If you are using Windows XP or Vista, there is a firewall built into the operating system. It would be advisable not to turn it off unless your anti-virus or other PC protection application has a firewall to replace it.
Note: no system wide measure can be 100% effective
against viruses and worms. Anytime you receive an unexplained or unexpected Email, be suspicious if:
- The Email is from someone you do not recognize
- The Email tries to entice you to go to a website
- Web links contain numeric IP addresses instead of names
- The Email asks for your personal information
You can get information on viruses and other threats at the following sites:
VirusList.com - The best source for latest virus threats, security advisories, and the general state of virus activity on the Internet.
Trend Micro - A very user friendly page for virus protection containing top threats, a virus encyclopedia, tips, and more.
Spyware & Browser Hijacks:
Many of you may have noticed a slowdown on your computer. The culprit may be spyware. Spyware is a program installed to your computer when you download from a web site or use file sharing programs. Most of these are done without any knowledge of it happening. But then you try to go to a webpage that is unavailable or suddenly there is a whole new page from somewhere unknown telling you that the webpage is unavailable but use its search engine to find something similar. That is a spyware program. They gather marketing data and report it back to a server along with your email address and then the next day, unsolicited spam email arrives in your inbox. Or worse they track information your type on your computer including credit card numbers. To combat this problem, certain specific steps are needed:
- Make certain you have the latest virus definition updates installed on your computer and that your anti-virus software is up and running. See the IT staff if you have questions about anti-virus products or your current subscription status.
- Remove KaZaa from your computer. This download program is extremely popular, but it is the single largest distributor of spyware anywhere.
- Never download any program without reading those boring details on the user agreement. If you read them carefully you will find that many times they mention that programs may be downloaded on your computer - if you see any indication of that in the agreement - don't install the software - it isn't worth it.
Spybot: Search & Destroy - An open source (free!) spyware eliminator. This gets rid of popups and those sneaky toolbars that keep attaching to your browser.
Mozilla Web Browser - An open source browser that does it all... popup blocking, email, html editing, and more!
If after reviewing the above information you are still having problems or suspect virus infection, please call HELP, option 2, then 1.