Viruses are only one type of malware that can harm your computer. In fact viruses have taken a backseat to the various "wares" that can infect your computer. Spyware (software used to steal your passwords and personal information), Adware (software that infects your computer turning normal web pages into advertisement billboards) and Scareware (software installed that tries to scare you into buying additional software to remove imaginary viruses) are all used to achieve one simple goal - Make money. This quest for money has far outpaced the desire to destroy or steal information. Where viruses used to infect and wipe out computer hard drives now the other "wares" want your computer to run so that they can sell you software you don't need, click on links to products you didn't want, and find credit card information to sell to the highest bidder.
The problem, besides the most obvious monetary issue, is that the also can slow down your computer tremendously. Once one "ware" is installed, it usually opens doors to many others. We have personally seen computer loaded with hundreds of spywares and adwaresand once they were removed, the computer ran like brand new.
Below is a list of software that we recommend*:
- Windows Defender - (now part of Microsoft's Security Essentials) features Real-Time Protection, a monitoring system that recommends actions against spyware when it's detected and minimizes interruptions and helps you stay productive.
- MalwareBytes - Now offering 4 year Premium account for $7 to students. See this page for additional details
What can I do to prevent this?
- Always make sure your antivirus and anti-malware software on your machine is up-to-date and perform regular system scans.
- Make sure your computer and software are up-to-date with the latest updates and patches. These updates can prevent malware from exploiting any system or software vulnerabilities that could’ve easily been patched.
- Don’t open unexpected email attachments and be sure to scan any attachments you do decide to download BEFORE opening them. A good rule of thumb is "If you didn't ask for it, then ask why they sent it."
- Exercise caution when following links to suspicious websites or content – especially if they’re found on social networking sites as they’re often a breeding ground for malware.
- Avoid using pirated software as evil doers have been known to lace them with malware.
Make sure you back up your computer – and do it often! You just never know.
And always remember that RRU and Computer Services will NEVER ask for your password in an email. Contact us directly by phone if you are ever suspicious of an email from us.
*RRU does not endorse nor support the 3rd party applications listed above. The apps and software listed above are suggestions only and should be used at your own discretion.