Safeguard Your System
- Install virus detection software and keep it up to date. Anti-virus programs perform two general functions: scanning for & removing viruses in files on disks and monitoring the operation of your computer for virus-like activity.
Auburn University's Office of Information Technology (OIT) recommends that you run the latest version of Sophos AntiVirus software (available to AU students and employees via AU Install).
- 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 Microsoft Windows Update or Mac OS Update.
- Back up your files. File backup is a practice that can save you hours of headache if a system crash occurs. Hardware failures can occur without notice, so it is critical for you to have a backup copy of your important files.
Files can be backed up locally on media such as blank CDs/DVDs or via Tivoli Storage Manager.
- Turn on your firewall. A firewall can help prevent malicious software (such as worms) from gaining access to your computer through a network or the Internet. A firewall can also help stop your computer from sending malicious software to other computers. Windows XP and Windows Vista include firewall software.
Note: Some systems may already be running a third-party firewall (ex. Zone Alarm or Norton Internet Security). Contact your departmental IT Provider for help in determining whether a firewall is already running on the system.
- Only obtain software from reputable sources.
- Quarantine infected systems. Disconnect it from any network it is on and don't allow anyone to move files from it to another system.
Note: If your computer gets a virus while on the AU network, your PC may be placed in Quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus. For more information see, the AU Quarantine Page.
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:
- Downloading files and software through file-sharing applications such as BitTorrent, eDonkey, and KaZaA
- Clicking links in instant messages (IM) that have no context or have only general text
- Downloading executable software from public message boards and non reputable sources
- Saving personal files on public computers that are used by other individuals
- Opening e-mail attachments from people you don't know or without first scanning them for viruses
- Opening any e-mail attachment that ends in .exe, .vbs, or .lnk on a computer running Microsoft Windows (Auburn University blocks most attachments that contain viruses from being delivered via e-mail)
What if I think I'm infected?
If you think you have a virus, run a virus scan with Sophos Anti-Virus. If you need assistance removing a virus from your machine, see the OIT Security Center (Virus Section), or the Student PC Shop who will remove the virus for a fee. If you have any other concerns or questions, contact the OIT HelpDesk at (334) 844-4944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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