Malware & Virus Protection

Installing updates for all software and operating systems can help prevent vulnerability in your computer. 

Virus Malware
A computer virus is a program designed to spread to as many files or computers as possible in order to steal personal information, damage computers, etc. A “worm” propagates itself across many computers by creating copies of itself. Malware is the general term meaning “malicious software.” It is a term used to describe any software that attempts to damage computers, servers, or computer networks. A “botnet” is a network of computers infected with a particular type of malware, which allows the attacker to perform certain automated tasks over the internet without you knowing it, such as sending spam.

What to Do When Your Personal Computer is Infected

Visit one of our Help Desks for free walk-up assistance. External assistance is also available. Here are some recommendations for where to get a PC or Mac fixed.

How to Protect your Personal Computer

Computer Updates

Running regular updates on your operating system allows your computer to prevent many malicious programs. Often this is set up to run automatically, however if you are unsure if you computer is up-to-date or would like to manually update it, please see the directions below.

Popular anti-spyware programs are Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Spybot – Search & Destroy. These programs can help supplement your antivirus protection by searching for a specific type of malware. However, this should not take the place of an antivirus program. If you choose to install an anti-spyware program, be sure to keep it up to date and run scans regularly.


The best way to prevent infection on your computer is to install an anti- virus program. After installing, make sure to run a system scan at least once a week and update the program as needed.

ITS offers Microsoft Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) for both Mac and PC computers free to all faculty, staff and students. SCEP is available on the Anti-virus webpage.


Like any other software, internet browsers also need patches and updates. These updates usually are downloaded automatically and will alert you to restart your browser when the download completes. Not all browsers contain the same security features. You may want to research the browser you are currently using and determine whether it meets your security needs.

Other Precautions

  • Email: Infections are commonly caught through email. Never open attachments or click on links in emails that are from an unknown sender or appear to be fraudulent.
  • Software: Downloading software online should come from reputable websites. Keep your current software up to date with the latest patches as many attackers commonly use holes in security in older versions of software.
  • Saving Documents: Documents and non- HTML files are just as threatening when downloaded from the internet, so make sure you know exactly where your download is coming from.
  • File sharing: Infections are also contracted through P2P or “peer-to-peer” clients that use torrents or other file sharing protocols. Malware can be disguised as “normal” files, such as songs, movies, documents, and software. Some of these programs can download viruses or malware without the user’s knowledge.
  • Websites: Be conscious of the websites you are visiting. Malicious scripts on websites can infect your computer without your knowledge.
  • Free Promotions: Sites that offer “free” material (e.g. music, movies, etc.) are very likely to give your computer an infection. Downloading copyrighted material without paying is illegal and also puts your computer at high risk.