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Anti-virus and Anti-malware

This article contains frequently asked questions regarding viruses and malware that can afflict computers.

How do I know if I have viruses or malware?

If your computer has been infected with a virus or malware you will quickly see odd signs that it exists. Weird things start happening that you cannot explain. Files might move around, odd error messages may appear, or programs might start to fail. With all this action taking place in the background your computer will also start to run slow and seem like it is busy all the time. For more information check out our Quick Tips page.

What is a virus?

A virus is a small program that gets into your computer undetected in order to cause havoc. This small software program has either been developed because the author enjoys causing disasters for other people or sometimes for monetary gains. Sometimes a virus is packaged in a file that is called a trojan virus. It is disguised as something else, and once it has gained access to your computer it then releases its intent. For more information, view our Anti-virus and Anti-malware Presentation.

What software does the campus provide to help me protect my computer from viruses?

Currently, Sac State recommends the free software Microsoft Security Essentials. For more information, view our Anti-virus and Anti-malware Presentation.

How important is it to update my anti-virus software?

The purpose of the antivirus software is to detect and clean any virus from a computer. The software uses a database of known viruses, called 'virus definitions'. As new viruses are created, definitions will change and increase. Updating your antivirus software guarantees that your computer is protected against any newly developed viruses.

What is malware?

Malware is an umbrella term for multiple kinds of software including spyware, viruses, and adware. The general rule is that if a program installs itself without user knowledge and/or consent, it is considered malware.

What does malware do?

The exact purpose of any piece of malware is dependent on what type of malware it is. Spyware gathers data and reports it back to somewhere. Adware displays unsolicited ads and other undesired marketing. Viruses have a whole host of sub-classes that are determined by how they infect a computer and what they do once they have done so.

What is anti-malware software?

Programs like Microsoft Security Essentials, avast! Antivirus, AVG Antivirus, Spysweeper, Ad Aware, and many others are all anti-malware suites. These suites of software are designed to prevent, detect, and clean up malware infections for the user.

How do I install the anti-malware software?

The install procedure is dependent on the program you choose to install. However, the most basic steps are the same. Visit the software download website. The two anti-malware suite options will have links to the place to download the software. Download the desired program and run the installer. For assistance, there is detailed documentation on-line on the IRT website that covers installation of either program, as well as the Student Workshops that one can attend. Students can go to the Microsoft Security Essentials site for a free software download. Staff members can obtain software by going to Sacramento State's Software Distribution page. For more information, view our Anti-virus and Anti-malware Presentation.

How can I protect my computer?

There are a number of steps that can be taken to protect a system from infection. These are covered in our on-line tutorials, as well as out Student Workshops. The first and best line of defense against infection is a good anti-malware suite. More information can be found on our Anti-virus and Anti-malware Presentation.

What can I do to prevent a computer virus infection in the future?

To protect your computer against viruses, follow these four steps:

  1. Make sure that your firewall is turned on.
  2. Keep the computer operating system up-to-date.
  3. Use updated antivirus software on the computer.
  4. Use updated anti-spyware software on the computer.

For more information please visit our Security page.

Can the IRT Service Desk clean my infected computer?

No. The IRT Service Desk does not perform virus or malware removal from personal laptops or desktops. However, we do provide learning workshops that assist students in how find and eradicate nasty viruses and malware. Workshops are a quick, informative 40 minutes (15-minute presentation followed by hands-on instruction). You will have the opportunity in class to practice the tools and skills as you are learning them. The schedule of our available workshops can be found on our STC Workshop Calendar.

What if I need help beyond what the IRT Service Desk can provide?

Some local repair computer repair shops* include:

CompanyAddressPhoneSac State DiscountCompany Website
Tech2U1590 Howe
Fast Break Tech1337 Howe
Geek Squad (Located in Best Buy)1901 Arden
Prestwood IT Solutions8421 Auburn

*These are listed as a courtesy to our community. The IRT Service Desk does not endorse any particular business.

Information Security - KB0010554 by Padraic Hagerty | Published:2014-07-30 | Updated:2016-10-07 08:39:55 | Views::2,880