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Keep Malware (Viruses, Trojans, Worms) Off My Computer

How to avoid malware

This article applies to: Security & Policy

Malware = Malicious Software

There is no guaranteed solution to prevent malware from invading your computer, since criminals spend a lot of time finding new and innovative ways to break down computer security defenses.

Tips for keeping bad programs off your computer

  • Enhance your browser’s security. See use the Internet safely to make your experience on the Internet a safer one.
  • Minimize drive-by download opportunities. Drive-by downloads happen when malicious software installs on your computer without you even knowing it. Drive-by downloads usually happen when visiting websites with lots of third-party advertisements, but that’s not always the case. See more about drive-by downloads.
  • Practice caution with FREE software. If you aren’t 100% certain you trust the software provider, search for reviews online to try and confirm the trustworthiness and authenticity of the application. 
  • Don’t click on ads, even on trusted sites. Often ad space is sold to one party, then resold to a second and third party. In the end, the legitimacy of a site does not vouch for the legitimacy of an ad.
  • Don’t open files from unknown sources. Any time you receive an email with an attachment, ask yourself (1) who is this email from, and (2) should you be expecting the attached type of information from this person? If you aren’t absolutely sure you trust the sender or you aren’t expecting the type of attached information, be cautious. Either contact someone you trust to make sure the attachment is safe, or delete the email without opening the attachment.
  • Exercise caution when sharing thumb drives, music players, cameras, mobile phones, and external hard drives. Malware is commonly spread by devices you plug into your computer’s USB port.
  • Opt out of peer-to-peer file sharing. It is against university policy to run peer-to-peer software, like BitTorrent, on a computer housing confidential data. However, even if you don’t have confidential data on your computer, don’t install any peer-to-peer software without first checking with your department’s technical support staff to find out if it’s allowed.


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