What is malware?
Malware is an abbreviated term used to describe a “malicious software” program. Malware includes viruses, trojans, worms, keyloggers spyware or adware programs, that will perform such tasks as tracking cookies, which are then used to monitor your surfing habits.
You hear about many different forms of electronic infection. The most common are:
- Viruses – A virus is a small piece of software that piggybacks on real programs. For example, a virus might attach itself to a program such as a spreadsheet program. Each time the spreadsheet program runs, the virus runs, too, and it has the chance to reproduce (by attaching to other programs) or wreak havoc.
- E-mail viruses – An e-mail virus travels as an attachment to email messages, and usually replicates itself by automatically mailing itself to dozens of people in the victim’s e-mail address book.
- Trojan horses – A Trojan horse is simply a computer program. The program claims to do one thing (it may claim to be a game) but instead does damage when you run it.
- Worms – A worm is a small piece of software that uses computer networks and security holes to replicate itself. A copy of the worm scans the network for another machine that has a specific security hole. It copies itself to the new machine using the security hole, and then starts replicating from there, as well.
How can I tell if I have malware on my computer?
Your computer might slow down or crash and restart every few minutes. Sometimes malware attacks the files you need to start up a computer. In this case, you might press the power button and find yourself staring at a blank screen. All of these symptoms are common signs that your computer has malware—although they could also be caused by hardware or software problems that have nothing to do with malware.
How can I be protected from malware?
ITS provides free anti-virus protection to ATSU owned faculty and staff computers. Our anti-virus effort has reduced the number and severity of virus outbreaks on campus. The primary components of this effort are:
- University-wide anti-virus requirements
Each computer connected to the University network must have a University-approved anti-virus program installed and kept up-to-date.
- New anti-virus software provided regularly
As it becomes available, antivirus updates are available.
- Easy updating
Managed versions of the software means that you’re automatically up to date.
- Email scanning for viruses
All email directed to University addresses (@atsu.edu) is screened. Virus-infected messages are automatically quarantined.
- Ongoing support
The ITS Support Desk provides anti-virus support for University-provided anti-virus software.
(This includes faculty/staff home computers and student computers.)
Personal computers can be infected by viruses and spyware; once infected, your computer’s security and your own identity and financial information can easily come under attack. There are a few simple steps you can — and should — take to keep your computer safe and secure that are provided in the links below.
Finding the best anti-virus program
There are many free anti-virus programs that can be downloaded and installed which will work just as well as some paid versions. As the “best” anti-virus changes regularly, the below link will provide information on which one is least resource heavy and statistically the best at protection.