Malware and Viruses
What is a computer virus?
A computer virus is a program designed to spread itself by infecting files or drives and then making copies of itself on the same computer as well as on other computers on the network. Viruses usually operate without the knowledge or desire of the computer user. Viruses are software programs; the actual effect of any particular virus depends on how it was programmed by the person who wrote the virus. Some viruses are deliberately designed to damage files or otherwise interfere with your computer's operation, while others do not do anything but try to spread themselves causing damaged files and other problems.
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. 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 do I do if I get an infection?
If you have not used a quality up-to-date antivirus program on your computer, be sure to install one. Some problems blamed on viruses are actually caused by software configuration errors or other problems that have nothing to do with a virus. If you do get infected by a virus, follow the directions in your antivirus program for cleaning it. If you have backup copies of the infected files, use those to restore the files. Check the files you restore to make sure your backups were not infected. For assistance, check the web site and support services for your antivirus software. Visit the CTS help desk for assistance.
What are some general tips on avoiding virus infections?
What is UW-Parkside doing to help?
UW-Parkside provides malware protection for faculty and staff PCs. Additionally firewalls and other network tools help filter many unwanted connections that lead to the spread of malware. However, no tool will fully protect a system. In the end it is up to the user to help prevent computer infections. The helpdesk staff will also provide advice on security tools that can be installed on student and employee home computers.