In today's world, it is important to safe-guard your computer from viruses. The client support technicians at Saint Mary's College suggest three actions that will help keep your computer virus-free:
1. Keep Your Windows Critical Updates Current
If you have Windows XP or Windows 2000, it is important to keep your Windows Critical Updates current. Some viruses attack Windows vulnerabilities. The updates protect against many flaws in the operating system. These updates and virus scans should be run in Safe Mode.
How to Run Your Computer in Safe Mode:
- To get into Safe Mode, restart your computer
- Hit F8 on your keyboard immediately
- You will see a menu
- Highlight "Safe Mode with Networking"
- A grey box will appear after saying it is in safe mode
- Click OK
How to Check for Windows Critical Updates:
- Open your Internet Explorer browser
- Go to the "Tools" menu
- Click on Windows Update
- If you see a Microsoft Security Warning, click yes
- Click on "Scan for Updates"
- Then Review each of the updates you wish to install
- Install all Critical updates
How to Enable Automatic Updates:
- We suggest that you enable Automatic Updates
- To do this on a Windows XP computer, go to the Control Panel. This may be found by clicking on the Start Menu, select Settings and select Control Panel.
- In the Control Panel, click on "System"
- Find the "Automatic Update" tab and make sure the "Keep my computer up to date" is enabled.
- There are 3 settings to choose from. Pick whichever is most convenient.
- (NOTE: In Windows 2000, the Automatic Update Icon is in the Control Panel. Follow the directions above).
2. Have Antivirus Software Installed and Run Scans
It is important to have antivirus software installed and current with the latest virus definitions. If you don't, there is a web site that can do a free scan for you.
How to Run a Free Virus Scan:
- Go to http://housecall.trendmicro.com/
- Under "Scan Your PC" click on "Scan now, It's Free!"
- Choose our country in the location tab
- If a security warning comes up, say OK
- An Active Update comes up and downloads the updates
- Put a check next to the C: drive
- Check the box that says "auto clean"
- Click "Scan"
3. Remove Ad Software and Spyware from Your Computer
There are some web sites that can scan your computer for spyware and ad software that is installed from downloads. The majority of internet-computer users do not even know that their computer is infected with spyware. Spyware is bad because it can result in identity theft. By running free spyware scans on your computer, you can find out if your computer is a target for foul play.
How to Run a Free Ad Software Scan and Remove Files:
- Go to http://www.lavasoftusa.com/support/download/ for Ad-aware 6.0 (which is produced by Lavasoft).
- Under "Full Install", click on the "Ad-aware 6" link from any of the web site providers. You will be directed to the provider's web site to download the program. Both free and for purchase downloads are available.
- Look for a "Download" button and click on it. A Download Dialog will open.
- Save to your desktop and open the installation program.
- Once you have finished installing the Ad-aware 6.0 program, open the icon on your desktop.
- Review your currect status and click on the "Start" button.
- On the "Scan Your System" page, select your preferred scan mode and click on the "Next" button.
- Allow your system to be scanned for problems.
- Select the items that you want removed from your computer. (By default, all items are checked).
- Click the "Next" and "Finished" buttons.
How to Run a Free Spyware Scan:
- Go to http://www.webroot.com/services/spyaudit_03.htm.
- Click the "start spy audit" button. The Download Dialog will open.
- To run a Spy Audit on your computer now, click "Run" or "Open." To save Spy Audit to your computer, click "Save."
- If Spyware is found, you will need to download software (which you may have to purchase or you can download for free...see below) that will be able to remove the Spyware on your computer. If Spyware is not found, you will see a blank web page.
Where to Download Free Spyware Removal Software:
- There are two programs available for free that we recommend -- "Ad-Aware" (which is produced by Lavasoft) and "Spybot" (which is produced by PepiMK Software).
- Both programs are available for free download from http://www.cnet.com.
Malware (viruses, worms and Trojans) can cause network slowdown and disruption, corruption or loss of files, e-mail delays and loss, confidential information disclosure and attacks on other computers and networks, such as denial of service attacks. It is a requirement of the Saint Mary's College Technology Use Policy that all personal computers connected to the Saint Mary's network must be protected by up-to-date anti-virus software. You must purchase and install a desktop computer anti-virus software package such as those available from Symantec or McAfee before connecting to the network. The anti-virus package must also come with an update service, and you should update your virus definitions on a weekly basis, if updates are not done automatically by the software.