Information Security Support
The Information Security site provides information about security and tools that are needed to secure and guard your computer against known security threats. [further overview]
- Does WestConn provide any anti-virus tools? Does WestConn provide any anti-virus tools?
- How do I run a virus scan on my computer? How do I run a virus scan on my computer?
- I think my system has been infected by a virus. What should I do? I think my system has been infected by a virus. What should I do?
- How can I tell if my computer has been infected by a virus? How can I tell if my computer has been infected by a virus?
- How do I prevent from getting a virus? How do I prevent from getting a virus?
- How does virus infect a computer? How does virus infect a computer?
- Why worry about viruses? Why worry about viruses?
- What is a Virus Hoax? What is a Virus Hoax?
- What is a Trojan Horse? What is a Trojan Horse?
- What is a Worm? What is a Worm?
- What is a Virus? What is a Virus?
Through an agreement with Network Associates, Inc, WestConn has licensed McAfee anti-virus software for faculty, staff, and students to download and install for free.
To qualify for this university sponsored free download, you must be a currently registered student or an active faculty/staff member at WestConn. You must also accept the license agreement before you download and install the software.
After downloading the software, learn more about virus protection and how to keep your computer secure by visiting WestConn's Information & System Security portal.
- Do as little as possible on that machine, because every click could spread the infected program.
- Run a complete scan of your system using your anti-virus software.
- If infected files are found, attempt to clean them.
- If a file is found to be infected, but cannot be cleaned successfully, you should make note of the filename and then delete the file.
- If the file is a Windows system file, a new copy can typically be extracted from the Windows CD.
- If the file is associated with a program or application, you may need to reinstall the program in order to replace any deleted files.
- Check for any virus removal utilities that are available on most anti-virus vendor websites. Click here to get more information on viruses.
Your first and most important line of defense is an anti-virus program. An anti-virus program can check your entire computer for viruses and clean the programs or files that are infected, and inform you of the existence of those it cannot. Update anti-virus program's virus definitions on a regular basis.
Western CT State University distributes McAfee anti-virus for Windows and Macintosh platform free to students (click here to get your free copy of anti-virus). This anti-virus program should be updated on a regular basis to ensure that recent viruses can be detected and cleaned.
You should always be cautious of opening e-mail attachments. Although, you can scan files before you open or download them, this method is not fool proof. New viruses are created daily and even the most up to date anti-virus software may not recognize every single virus. In order to better protect your computer and save yourself the pain of losing important documents or even worse (some viruses can damage the entire contents of your hard drive), it is important to follow some precautions:
- Never open an e-mail attachment from an unknown source.
- Do not open e-mail attachments which you are not expecting (even from someone you know). Some viruses spread themselves by sending infected e-mails to people's address books. The person sending you the virus might not realize that they are sending you an e-mail at all.
- Be suspicious of e-mails with vague subjects such as 'I love you', 'Free vacation', 'Important', 'Warning', etc... Make sure that when you send e-mails your own subject headings have some kind of significance. Do not perpetuate bad habits.
- If your anti-virus software detects a virus, clean it, and if the software cannot clean it, delete the file. It is never a good idea to keep a virus on your computer.
- Opening an infected e-mail attachment.
- Opening an infected file located on the network.
- Running an infected program (which can be a game, screen saver, etc.).
- Saving an infected file to a diskette or zip disk and then using it on your computer.
- Rebooting an infected computer when a floppy disk is in the drive and then using the floppy disk on your computer.
The most common type of hoax warns one to not to open an e-mail message with a certain subject because it will activate a virus. Opening an email can not activate a virus. Reading an email does not involve the execution of any sort of programs, which is a prerequisite for a virus to activate. The only exception to this is if your email software is configured to automatically open attachments. Most hoaxes ask you to forward the warning on to as many people as possible. This is how the hoax spreads itself. As a general rule, if you receive any message that asks you to forward it to others, you should check the accuracy of the message first. If a message warns you about a virus and doesn't have a link to a source that you can trust (anti-virus companies or well known software companies) then it is most likely an hoax. If you still might think that the warning is true, do some internet research (click here to search for hoax database) to check if the warning is legitimate. Do not just forward the e-mail. Passing on messages about these hoaxes only serves to further propagate them.
Host computer worms are entirely contained in the computer they run on and use network connections only to copy themselves to other computers. Host computer worms where the original terminates itself after launching a copy on another host (so there is only one copy of the worm running somewhere on the network at any given moment), are sometimes called "rabbits."
Network worms consist of multiple parts (called "segments"), each running on different machines (and possibly performing different actions) and using the network for several communication purposes. Propagating a segment from one machine to another is only one of those purposes. Network worms that have one main segment which coordinates the work of the other segments are sometimes called "octopuses".
A computer virus is a computer program designed and written to make additional copies of itself and spread from location to location typically without one's knowledge or permission. Viruses add their code to your computer when an infected file or program is executed on your computer. Some viruses display symptoms such as unique error messages, and some cause damage to files on an infected computer. But a program does not have to perform outright damage (such as deleting or corrupting files) in order to be called a "virus".
The most common categories of viruses are:
- Boot viruses that become active and run when the computer is restarted, or when restarted with an infected floppy disk in the drive
- File viruses which attach themselves to executable program files and activate when the program is run
- Macros viruses which attach themselves to documents and templates so that when the file is opened the virus becomes active.