Tips for Dealing With Malicious Software and Malware

Posted on 10/16/2015 1:50:34 PM

Malicious software or malware can harm your computer, and in some cases, puts your personal information at risk. The ins and outs of malware can get technical. The following is a brief guide to malware for the end user.

Malware includes programs, such as viruses, spyware, and adware:

  • Viruses infect one computer, copy themselves, and then spread to other computers. Viruses often provide a conduit through which cybercriminals can access and steal information.
  • Spyware programs are obtained by clicking on bad webpages and links. They monitor your activity and can steal information, such as passwords and Social Security and credit card numbers.
  • Adware programs are similar to spyware with the additional annoyance of delivering unwanted pop-up ads.

To keep your computer running efficiently and to protect your personal information:

  • Keep your computer software up to date, and use a virus protection product, such as Sophos.
  • Do not open suspicious e-mail messages, links, or Web pages. If you are unsure, verify the source.
  • Don't forget to protect devices, such as cell phones and game consoles.
  • Scan external devices, such as USBs, if you are using them across multiple computers.

All IUP faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to take advantage of the university’s site license for Sophos and MalwareBytes. They can be downloaded and installed on personal machines, free of charge from the IT Support Center Available Software page.