Computer Viruses

Q: Where can I get my own virus scanning software?
A: All computers connected to the UGA network are required to have anti-virus software, anti-spyware capabilities, a software firewall, and up-to-date security patches. For Windows users, we recommend Microsoft Security Essentials:
For more information on this topic:

Q: What is a computer virus?
A: This link for basic virus information.

Q: Should I be worried about viruses in the labs?
A: You should take proper precautions. Macro viruses, found mainly in word documents, are the most common type found in labs. Open Word documents by following the advice in the next question.  You should be safe from most viruses that are currently available. 

Q: How can I prevent the acquisition of viruses?
A: Never open an email attachment that is not expected, especially from an unknown source. If Microsoft Word asks if you want to activate macros when opening a file, answer no, and then proceed to check the file for viruses. Regularly scan your files for viruses. This can be done at a lab machine by clicking on the virus scan icon under the disk utilities menu. Make Backups. This is not only good advice for virus protection but good advice in general. 



Q.  What is spyware?
A.  Spyware is usually advertising software that gets installed on your computer without your knowledge. Companies use it to pop up internet ads, track your Internet usage, and gather other personal information about you. These programs are usually not written very well and tend to cause a lot of problems.

Besides invading your privacy, these programs often cause problems with Internet Explorer and other web browsers. If you have a lot of spyware on your computer, chances are that one of these programs has affected your Internet browsing capabilities.

Q:  What are the warning signs that spyware might have been loaded on my PC?
A.   If your computer is experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might have spyware:

  • When you start your browser, the home page has changed to something undesirable. You change it back manually, but before long you find that it has changed again.
  • You get pop-up advertisements when your browser is not running or when your system is not even connected to the Internet, or you get pop-up ads that address you by name.
  • A search toolbar or other browser toolbar appears even though you didn't request or install it. Your attempts to remove it fail, or it comes back after removal.
  • Your system runs noticeably slower than it did before.  Or, a new item appears in your Favorites list without you having added it.
  • Your computer or laptop may be unusually unstable (it may crash more than usual).

Q.  How can I get rid of spyware running on my PC?
A.   Spyware is practically impossible to track down and delete through normal means. There are free tools available online to help deal with this type of computer performance problem. We recommend the following: