Indiana University
University Information Technology Services
  
What are archived documents?
Login>>
Login

Login is for authorized groups (e.g., UITS, OVPIT, and TCC) that need access to specialized Knowledge Base documents. Otherwise, simply use the Knowledge Base without logging in.

Close

ARCHIVED: Avoiding computer viruses

Computer viruses implant instructions in other programs or storage devices and can attack, scramble, or erase computer data. The danger of computer viruses lies in their ability to replicate themselves and spread from system to system. Few computing systems are immune to infection.

On this page:


High-risk behaviors

The following activities are among the most common ways of getting computer viruses. Minimizing the frequency of these activities will reduce your risk of getting a computer virus:

How to avoid computer viruses

Following are some recommendations for safe computing:

  • The most important thing you can do to keep your computer safe is to install virus detection software and keep the virus patterns up to date. Antivirus programs perform two general functions: scanning for and removing viruses in files on disks, and monitoring the operation of your computer for virus-like activity (either known actions of specific viruses or general suspicious activity). Most antivirus packages contain routines that can perform each kind of task.

    Note: The University Information Security Office (UISO) recommends that you run the latest version of Symantec virus protection software (available to IU students, faculty, and staff free of charge via IUware) for your operating system; See In Windows, how do I safely upgrade to the latest security software? Be sure to upgrade safely, update your virus definitions daily, and scan your computer weekly. Check the software help for instructions.


  • Keep your operating system current with the latest patches and updates. The writers of viruses and worms often exploit bugs and security holes in operating systems and other computer software. Software manufacturers frequently release patches for such holes. For information on obtaining the latest patches, see ARCHIVED: For Windows, how can I get software updates and patches? and ARCHIVED: For Mac OS X, how do I obtain and install system software updates?

  • Back up your files. Viruses are one more very good reason to always back up your files.

    Note: If you back up a file that is already infected with a virus, you can re-infect your system by restoring files from the backup copies. Check your backup files with virus scanning software before using them.

  • Keep your original application and system disks locked (write-protected). This will prevent the virus from spreading to your original disks.

  • If you must insert one of your application disks into an unknown computer, lock (write-protect) it first, and unlock your application disk only after verifying that the machine is virus-free.

  • Obtain public-domain software from reputable sources. Check newly downloaded software thoroughly using reputable virus detection software on a locked floppy disk for any signs of infection before you copy it to a hard disk. This can also help protect you from Trojan horse programs.

  • Quarantine infected systems. If you discover that a system is infected with a virus, immediately isolate it from other systems. In other words, disconnect it from any network it is on and don't allow anyone to move files from it to another system. Once the system has been disinfected, you can copy or move files.

  • If you use a desktop version of Outlook, minimize use of the preview or reading pane feature.
This is document aaqa in domain all.
Last modified on August 30, 2010.

I need help with a computing problem

  • Fill out this form to submit your issue to the UITS Support Center.
  • Please note that you must be affiliated with Indiana University to receive support.
  • All fields are required.



Please provide your IU email address. If you currently have a problem receiving email at your IU account, enter an alternate email address.

I have a comment for the Knowledge Base

  • Fill out this form to submit your comment to the IU Knowledge Base.
  • If you are affiliated with Indiana University and need help with a computing problem, please use the I need help with a computing problem section above, or contact your campus Support Center.