This page was last updated: 11/3/2009 3:14:47 PM
All CWSL workstations have had anti-virus software pre-installed by Information Technology. It is configured to automatically update
anti-virus signatures automatically. Please bear in mind that you
are responsible for installing and maintaining anti-virus software on any home
or personal laptop computer that connects to the CWSL network.
What are Viruses?
Viruses are programs (software) that are created by people. Some
of them are benign, some annoying, and some destructive. The thing they have in
common is their method of propagation. They are self-replicating if they are
able to spread themselves into other executable programs or documents. Usually
attaching to valid files to spread to other parts of the system or network.
There are two virus sub-types that are important.
Worms: These are generally thought of as viruses but are different in
an important way. Unlike a virus that needs another program to propagate a worm
has its own self-contained propagation engine. It can email itself out to other
victims from its network connected host for example.
Trojan Horses: Like its mythical namesake a trojan horse pretends to
be something you want (like file sharing software) until it gets inside your
computer then whammo! Actually these programs usually aren't designed for
destruction but for spying. Many spy on what websites you go to. Some spy on
what keystrokes you make (a.k.a. key loggers). This information is sent automatically back to the
programmer or sender of the trojan horse.
What steps can I take to avoid Viruses on my home computer?
- Install a good anti-virus program. There are several
good ones on the market. The most popular are by Symantec and McAfee.
There are also some free anti-virus packages. We have home licenses of McAfee VirusScan. Contact HelpDesk if you are
interested in obtaining McAfee AntiVirus for your home computer.
- Always be suspicious of any email containing attachments or from
people you don't know (and even people you do know!). It is important to remember that worms can
automatically email themselves out from their host. They can create copies
of themselves as attachments to email sent out automatically. They can also
pretend to come from the victim, inserting the victims name in the from
field of the email. Ask yourself
- If you have high-speed Internet such as Cable or DSL make sure you
have a Cable/DSL router. A cable/DSL router will help "hide" your system
from the Internet. Viruses that probe systems on the Internet for
vulnerabilities will have a harder time with your system than the one that
is simply plugged directly into the Cable or DSL Modem with nothing in
between. Unfortunately, Cable and DSL providers often install your home
broadband connection using the simplest possible configuration (i.e. not
broadband router or firewall). Please recognize that this is no longer
considered a secure method of connecting to the Internet. Please feel free
to discuss home firewall/router options with Information Technology HelpDesk.
- Always make sure your operating system, antivirus software, and browser are up to date.
Some scams use viruses or holes in the security of operating systems like Windows and browsers like Internet Explorer. You should always make sure you have the latest security updates installed on your computer.
Information Technology works diligently to keep all servers and desktop computers
updated with the latest security updates, anti-virus software, and anti-spyware.
It is up to you to make sure your personal laptops and home computers
are kept up to date.
I think I've been infected. What should I do?
- Immediately update your virus definitions and run your anti-virus
Familiarize yourself with your anti-virus program manual. It will let
you know how to do both of these things. If you are using McAfee VirusScan as
provided by Information Technology do the following: Right-click the red, white,
and blue McAfee shield icon in the System Tray (the box in the lower right
corner where the clock is). Choose Update Now... After the newest
virus definitions are up to date right-click the shield again and choose
On Demand Scan... McAfee will let you know if it finds anything
and what it does to it. Most often McAfee will take care of the virus
without any further action from you.
- The anti-virus scan did not find anything. Now what should I do?
If your virus definitions are current and the On Demand Scan
(McAfee only, other antivirus companies scanning processes will have
different names) did not find anything suspicious it usually means you are
not infected. If you think differently, you might consult a virus information site such
Symantec Threat Library or the
Library. You can also send questions to