Beware Malware!

What is it?

Malware is an umbrella term for various types of malicious software (hence the name), including viruses, worms, trojans, spyware and etc. This type of hostile program infiltrates a computer without the user’s informed consent, often posing as something innocent. Once its infiltrates a system, malware can damage, alter or steal important data.

What can I do to protect myself?

We recommend that all users have anti-virus software installed on their computers. While Windows machines tend to be targeted more often, since that platform is more prevalent, the growing popularity of the Mac OS means that this way soon change.

There are any number of commercial and shareware anti-virus programs out there. For GSLIS and other U of I users, CITES provides MacAfee Anti-Virus free through their web store. They also offer Sophos, for Mac users, for a $5 license fee.

Other free options include:

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware: A free trial of this software is available at

Spybot Search and Destroy: Recently voted best anti-malware application by users at , this is available as a free download at

*Note* Since malware, in its various forms, is constantly changing, it’s important to keep your security software up-to-date. However, be sure to download updates only from reputable sources.

Finally, since prevention is often less painful than the cure, one important line of defense against malware is your own good judgement. Be careful of pop-ups, email, instant messages, etc, that ask you to click on a link or download an attachment. If you’re not sure it’s from a trustworthy source, better to be safe than sorry. Even if it appears to be legitimate, consider whether it looks different, for example, than the last Flash update you downloaded. In the event that you are decieved, however, don’t feel too bad. It happens to the savviest of us, since malware developers get trickier and tricker. If you have good, up-to-date security software installed, you shoud be ok if malware breaches that first line of defense.

Interested in learning more about secure computing, visit the CITES Security home page. You might also want to attend of the their Security Orientation sessions held on campus. See their schedule here.

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