Viruses and Spyware
Common techniques that reduce your risk of infection
When browsing to a secure site, you will notice that the beginning of the URL will become “https” rather than the traditional “http”. You might also notice a lock appear on the browser to convey you have entered a secure site. These indicators help you to realize that the network traffic sent between your computer and the server with which you are communicating is trusted and is being sent securely over the Internet. Email Email has become an essential communication method. With it increase in popularity, people have found ways to exploit its nature to propagate viruses, spam, scams, and hoaxes. To protect yourself from falling victim to one of these attacks, caution should be used at all times by remembering the following words of caution:
- Do not open attachments from people you don’t know or are unsure about. Many viruses are spread by scanning an infected user’s address book and emailing a message to everyone in an attempt of spreading itself further to unsuspecting victims.
- Do not click on links within emails. Even if the link appears to be legitimate and appears to be from an authority, the email could be spoofed and the actual URL behind the link might point to a compromised or malicious site. We suggest that if the link appears to be legitimate, copy the link provided in the email into a browser window. This copies only the text of the link and strips off the URL behind the link making it a little safer.
- Keep your anti-virus up to date. Antivirus programs are only able to catch viruses that have been defined in a definition file.
In an effort to protect the university’s network, the University of Illinois freely provides McAfee anti-virus protection to students, faculty, and staff. In addition to the work environment, Faculty and staff members are also able to obtain a copy of this software to be installed on home computers. This software can be downloaded from the Software WebStore. Spyware/Malware Spyware tracks your web browsing behavior and reports it to advertising companies. While virus scanners are able to prevent malicious programs from running on your machine, they don’t typically scan for spyware. Currently, MalwareBytes is the recommended free tool used to help eliminate spyware from a machine.