All machines connecting to the SJC network MUST have anti-virus software installed, running and updated regularly.
Examples of Anti-Virus Software
- Avast!| Has both a free and paid versions for PC's
- AVG| Has both a free and paid versions for PC's
- McAfee| Has free trials and paid versions for PC's, Mac's and Mobile.
- Sophos| Has free trials and paid versions for PC's, Mac's and Mobile.
What is a virus?
A computer virus is a type of program that can hide in the background and copy itself from one computer to another by attaching itself to existing programs, emails, or parts of an operating system. Some viruses erase files and lock up your computer. Others infect executable code and try to interfere with the computer's operation. Mostly they try to spread themselves in an attempt to infect other computers. Computers viruses leave machines vulnerable to scans and attacks by hackers. Once a hacker has access to your computer, he/she can use it to attack other computers and to access personal information.
Is anti-virus software enough?
Of course, your anti-virus software can only offer one method of protection to prevent your machine from becoming infected. You must be aware that most viruses need to be executed to function. Many users unknowingly transmit a virus by copying infected program files, opening an infected email attachment, or by using an infected program or file downloaded from the internet. This means you have to run the infected program or open the infected document to allow the virus to spread.
So how do you protect yourself?
- Don't open or forward emails and attachments from unknown sources.
- Be cautious.
- Do not reply to Phishing Schemes (ex. E-mail's asking for your username and password, the Computer Center will NEVER ask for these.)
- Beware of email attachments that you are not expecting.
- Save files to a disk and scan them for viruses before you open them.
- If you should receive an infected email, contact the sender and let them know so they can fix the problem.
- Periodically scan your hard drive for virus infections.
Isn't a firewall enough protection to stop viruses?
Here at SJC we are behind a firewall that protects student and university owned computers from outside attacks. However, the firewall cannot offer protection if a virus is brought onto campus by an infected machine. Some recent viruses were caught by simply connecting a computer to a network where another computer was broadcasting a virus. Once these viruses are on campus, they are a threat to every machine connected to the network and to the integrity of the network itself.
What happens if I become infected?
If your computer becomes infected, you may be able to use your anti-virus software to clean the infected files. Some viruses are very malicious and will destroy your files. Some files may be fully recoverable or they may have to be deleted. In the case of some of the nastier viruses, more drastic measures may be required. You may need to reinstall your software or you may need to reformat your hard drive and reinstall your operating system as well as all your packaged software.
You may wish to visit your anti-virus software manufacturer's website for detailed instructions and assistance in removing the infection. You can remove unnecessary programs or services from your computer by using the following utility, Stinger, which is available from McAfee at http://vil.nai.com/VIL/stinger/. This is a free tool that is used to remove many virus infections.
What will SJC do in the case of an infected computer?
If we detect suspicious activity on the network coming from your machine, your computer may be immediately disconnected from the network. Any personal computer found not to have anti-virus software installed or which is not been kept up-to-date and has become infected, will be removed from the network until the virus has been cleaned.
Some viruses utilize security flaws and holes within the Windows operating system. Anti-virus software may not protect your computer against these types of infections. Microsoft periodically distributes critical updates and patches from their website that help to correct and repair these flaws. You should regularly check Microsoft's website for these downloads or set your machine to automatically check for you. All students are expected to visit Microsoft Windows Update site regularly and download any critical patches appropriate for their computer. The website is available at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/
If you begin to notice that your machine is running slower than normal, you may have become infected with spyware. Anti-virus software won't stop them. They are not detected as viruses on the computer because the anti-virus software sees them as legitimate programs.
What is spyware?
Spyware is a program that gets installed without the user's knowledge. It is often bundled with other "freeware" programs. Spyware usually runs in the background while the user is innocently doing legitimate computer work. These programs have been known to scan your hard drive, snoop in other applications, change your default webpage, record internet usage, transmit that record back "home" and even leave a backdoor open for hackers to enter your computer. These programs have been known to slowdown a computer, create illegal operation errors, cause programs to crash and create havoc on the system they infect. MMany peer-to-peer (aka P2P) networking software packages are notorious for having spyware bundled with them. Once a hacker has access to your machine, they can use it to attack other machines on the network.
One way to detect and remove them is to visit one of the following sites and obtain the free removal program they have available.
With either of these programs it is a good idea to view their on-line instructions on how to use the product so you will be familiar with keeping it updated it before running it on your system.
Remember you are responsible for any activity coming from your computer. If we suspect your machine is acting suspiciously, we may disconnect it from the network until you have the chance to repair the problem.