I am the solution...to avoiding infection!

It’s not difficult! There are simple steps that you can easily take at work and at home to ward off virus, spyware and other malware attacks on your PC. Make these steps part of your daily work habits so you prevent an attack!

  • While at work, don't open an e-mail from someone you don’t recognize. If faculty or staff see an e-mail captured by their anti-spam, anti-spyware, or anti-virus tool, only open the e-mail within the tool and don’t send it onto your mailbox unless you are absolutely sure about the author and the attachment. If the tool is suspicious that it a virus…Beware!
  • Be very cautious with any e-mail attachment. Even an attachment from someone you know may not be safe. If the attachment has an unfamiliar file extension, don’t click on it. It could contain executable code and be a virus waiting to get out.
  • Be careful what you download. Don’t download executable software from public-access bulletin boards or public websites.
  • Make sure you have Anti-Virus software and an internet on your home PC. Just because your new PC came with trial anti-virus software does not mean it is still active.  Did you buy the service after the trial period was over?  Have you installed your own package anti-virus software?  This is your responsibility!

If College faculty and staff use their personal computers for College business and would like to request a copy of anti-virus software from the College, they can go to the OIT Service Desk Desktop Computing web page for a copy of the Work-at-Home Request and Agreement Form.

  • Keep your Anti-Virus software and firewall up to date. Anti-virus software requires periodic updates. Be sure to follow your anti-virus software and firewall instructions to keep your virus protection current.


Scareware is another type of malware that has caught even experienced IT professionals off guard. The user might notice a pop-up appearing while browsing the Internet. The pop-up box will indicate that a virus or other type of malware problem has been detected on the user’s PC and ask if the user wants to fix or remove the problem. Unfortunately, when the user responds, what may actually occur is that an executable virus is installed on the computer. With the virus install now complete, the next step is for the offending software company whose software provided the virus to offer a solution for the virus but at a price to the user. Examples of known scareware programs include Anti Virus 2008, Anti Virus Plus, Anti Virus Sentry, Personal Defender 2000, WinDefender 2009. The titles, often derived from actual warnings issued by legitimate anti-virus software, make the scareware seem authentic.

Once active on a computer, scareware can block attempts to update Windows or anti-virus software, prevent an anti-virus software scan, or automatically hijack a web browser. Scareware is also very difficult to remove, often immune to file deletion measures causing the user to have to reformat the computer’s hard drive (s) and reinstall an operating system and other applications.

Although not foolproof, the following measures can help to protect against a scareware attack.

  • Keep the computer’s Windows software updated
  • Use legitimate anti-virus and anti-spyware software and keep them updated
  • Don’t automatically click on an unfamiliar or suspicious pop-up. Think before you click!
  • Remove any suspicious pop-up by right-clicking on the item in the task bar at the bottom of the screen and selecting "Close" or by manually exiting the browser session using Ctrl-Alt-Delete. Avoid clicking on the exit symbol in the upper right hand corner of the pop-up.


Spyware is software that collects information from your computer as you use the Internet to visit Websites. Spyware is automatically downloaded on to your computer when you visit some Websites and used to track your Internet activity. Spyware is known to hide in free software downloads and is sometimes known to carry viruses. You might even freely agree to accept commercial spyware when you agree to the end-user license agreement of a new downloaded program or game. What are symptoms of a spyware-laden computer?

  • A barrage of pop-ups
  • A hijacked browser – you type in an address and the browser takes you somewhere else
  • New or unexpected toolbars or icons
  • Sluggish system performance

Install anti-spyware software to ward off this threat.