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Preventing Malware

What is Malware?

Malware is software designed to damage or disable computers and computer networks or steal personal information. Viruses, spyware, adware, and botnets area all included in this category.

How can I tell if my computer might be infected?

Here are some signs that your computer might have a problem:

  • You have endless or unexpected popup windows.
  • You are redirected to web sites other than the one you typed into your browser.
  • New or unexpected toolbars appear in your web browser
  • Your browser's home page suddenly changed.
  • Your browser's search engine changed.
  • Random Windows error messages begin to appear.
  • Your computer suddenly seems very slow.

No anti-virus or spyware prevention software is perfect. So if you're worried that something might be wrong with your computer have a tech person check it out.

How can I prevent Malware?

  • Don't click on links within pop-up windows. - Pop-up windows are often a product of malware, clicking on the window may install malware on your computer.
  • Choose "no" when asked unexpected questions - Be wary of unexpected dialog boxes asking whether you want to run a particular program or perform another type of task. Always select no or cancel, or close the dialog box.
  • Be wary of free downloadable software - There are many sites that offer customized toolbars or other features that appeal to users. Don't download programs from sites you don't trust, and realize that you may be exposing your computer to malware by downloading some of these programs.
  • Don't follow email links claiming to offer anti-spyware or anti-virus software - The links may serve the opposite purpose and actually install the malware it claims to be eliminating.

Tips adapted from http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-016

Resources

Protection & Removal Tools

IS recommends the following for home use:

Sofware Type
PC
Norton by Symantec Paid solution. Offers a number of different products including anti-virus, spyware removal and firewalls
Hitman Pro Offers 30 day free trial. Software removes all forms of malware including virusts and spyware.
Zone Alarm Zone Alarm by Check Point Software has multiple free and paid options for antivirus, firewalls and document encryption.
Avast Avast offers a number of both free and paid security products for both PC and Mac including Anti-virus, mobile security and VPN services.
Avg AVG is best known for it's basic free anti-virus software, also has a number of more full featured paid options.
Spybot Spybot is best known for its ability to remove spyware, but also has anti-virus software rolled into the product.
Ad Aware Ad Aware is best known for it's anti-spyware software, but now has free and paid options for anti-virus software as well.
Sophos Sophos is a paid product with a 30 day trial that offers a number of different security softwares including Anti-virus.
Mac
Norton by Symantec Paid solution. Offers a number of different products including anti-virus, spyware removal and firewalls
Sophos Sophos is a paid product with a 30 day trial that offers a number of different security softwares including Anti-virus.
Avast Avast offers a number of both free and paid security products for both PC and Mac including Anti-virus, mobile security and VPN services.
Linux
Sophos Sophos is a paid product with a 30 day trial that offers a number of different security softwares including Anti-virus.

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Content last modified: September 27, 2013, 1:38pm