Often times computers that are connected to a college network begin experiencing problems as a result of viruses or malware that have been downloaded onto the host system. These problems can be so small that they cause only minor difficulties in accessing certain files and changing settings, or so damaging that they can essentially destroy your system.
Check out the YouTube video below, which briefly overviews the different type of malware (a catch-all phrase for malicious software) that exists.
Malicious computer hackers, data-destroying viruses, and email spam are only a few of the many possible threats to your personal security. Without being properly protected, hackers can gain access to virtually any file or information stored on your computer through malicious programs. You could potentially lose all of your data or become unable to use it. It is easy to prevent malware infections and surf the Internet without feeling insecure by simply taking a few precautionary measures listed below, and using your best judgment.
More than you would think! We remove malware from more than 600 machines, on average, each quarter. Many of these machines come to ResNet because Network Security blocked their Internet connection on campus in order to protect the user as well as the network from malware/hackers. Malware also spreads through peer-to-peer programs (e.g., uTorrent, Vuze). This is only one of the many ways your computer can get infected with malware.
Although most malware are targeted to injure systems using Windows, Macintosh computers can still be susceptible. In the past, trojans have broken the Internet connection of Mac users. Also, you can spread infected files to your friends who have Windows through email attachments or file transfers without knowing it.
Computers that are the most susceptible to being hacked are those who do not meet minimum security standards (see Update and Secure Your Computer). Malware can be unintentionally downloaded from other programs, files, or email attachments. Others can also access your computer through security holes in the operating system you are running, so make sure you get all applicable security patches from the manufacturer's website or by running software updates regularly.
The only way to completely secure your computer is to disconnect it from the Internet, but this obviously isn't helpful, so you must take as many reasonable precautions that you can. To ensure that you have the minimum security standards, you should have:
For more information on securing your computer, please visit our Secure Your Computer page.
Ignoring it. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. In fact, it will help spread the virus to other places on the Internet (i.e. your friends and family). If you suspect that your computer has become infected with malware, please visit our Scan and Secure page for Windows machines, or you can contact our Help Desk and bring your computer to our office, where one of our staff members will help you remove the malware.