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Malware for Students

Q. What is Malware?


A: Malware is software that has the intent to harm or steal information from your computer without your consent (a virus, worm, or spyware, adware, etc).


Q. What can malware do to my computer?


A: Malware can:

  • Steal your personal information and address book (identity theft and keystroke-logging).
  • Flood your browser with pop-up advertising.
  • Spam your inbox with advertising email.
  • Take control of your internet browser and redirect you to an advertising or a phishing-con web page.
  • Use your computer as a secret server to broadcast pornography files.
  • Slow down or crashes your computer.
Q. Where does malware come from?


A. Malware can come from a variety of places including spam, peer to peer file sharing, visiting certain websites (even ones you would think are harmless).


Q. What can I do about malware?


A: The following items can help reduce your risk of obtaining malware:

  • Have an antivirus, antispyware, and firewall program running and keep it up to date. The University offers free Symantec Endpoint for students with Macs and Microsoft Security Essentials for students with PCs. It can be downloaded from URSA.
  • Use your internet browser’s pop-up blocker.
  • Don't download software or programs from unknown websites.
  • Disable cookies on your Internet browser. Cookies can be good, but there are Web sites that place a cookie on your computer so that you can be tracked down later.
  • Read the fine print when downloading programs. Those user licenses seem boring and repetitive at times, but there can be a wealth of information in them as well, such as giving a company permission to place malware in the form of adware or spyware on your computer.