Anti-Virus FAQs

This page contains answers to the questions most frequently asked by users.

Q. What can I do to protect my computer against viruses?

A. The best defense against virus attacks is to install an anti-virus software on your computer and keep it up-to-date. Also, it is important to apply the latest security patches to the applications installed on your computer. Patches fix vulnerabilities which are potential entry points for viruses and other computer threats.

Q. How do I know if my computer is infected with a virus?

A. There are signs that can be symptomatic of a virus infection in a computer (general slowdown, missing files, etc). However, the best way to know if your computer is infected is to use a good, updated anti-virus software to scan your system.

Q. What should I do if my campus workstation has a virus?

A. If your workstation is infected with a virus, please turn it off and contact your college ITC or the ITS Help Desk (3-6170) for assistance. Do not use your workstation until it has been disinfected.

Q. What should I do if my home computer has a virus?

A. Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date and scan your computer.

Q. Where can I get anti-virus software for my home computer?

A. To obtain anti-virus software for home use, please visit the Desktop Protection page.

Q. If my computer is not connected to the Internet, can it be infected with a virus?

A. Yes, you can still get a virus from any type of removable device (DVD, CD, flash drive, external hard drive, etc.), especially when transferring files from one computer to another. It is good practice to always scan a removable device before opening a file from it or copying the file to your computer.

Q. If a virus reaches my computer, does this mean it is infected?

A. Not necessarily; just because a virus has entered your computer, it does not mean that it has been activated. Most viruses infect a computer when they are opened or executed.

Q. Why would someone I know send me a virus?

A. Most e-mail viruses will come from somebody you know because the majority of viruses propagate by sending themselves to people in the infected person's Address Book. Usually, this occurs without the knowledge of the sender.

Q. How can I distinguish a hoax from a real virus?

A. Hoaxes are not viruses and take no damaging action on your computer. A hoax is simply a message warning you of a non-existent virus that anti-virus programs cannot detect. To learn more, visit the Types of Threats page.

Q. What should I do if I receive a virus hoax?

A. If you receive a hoax, keep the following in mind: pay no attention to the content of the message; do not follow any of the advice or instructions in the message; do not forward it to anyone; delete the message.