Play It Safe » Use Brown's Anti-Malware Options
Why you should care:
Because malware (spyware, adware, viruses, worms, etc.) is everywhere, a hacker could make your life miserable, data could be destroyed, your identity could be compromised, and you could lose your network privileges.
What you can do:
- Know thy enemy
Malware ("malicious software") is an umbrella term for a variety of threats to your device's well-being, and includes: spyware, bogus anti-virus apps, rogueware, viruses, scareware, trojan horses, and worms. Malware can lurk in email or on websites and once encountered, may replicate, attach itself to other programs or files, and/or perform unwanted and unauthorized tasks. Many types are created to intentionally damage files or your entire hard drive, whereas others may cause minor annoyances. Unfortunately, even seemingly innocuous malware could trigger unexpected side effects and system crashes.
In addition, the presence of malware may not be easily detected and could spread through the sharing of files, disks, and email. In addition to updating your computer's operating system, it is important to protect your computer with an anti-malware program. Brown provides comprehensive anti-malware protection, free of charge, for all its students.
- Download free anti-malware software for personal use » Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows | Sophos Home Edition for Macs | Documentation
- Don't get own3d! - thwart the spies
If your computer slows down to a crawl, it might not be an infection but spyware instead. Spyware can hog system resources as it busily tracks your computer activity: gathering information about the web sites that you visit, logging your keystrokes, capturing your passwords, and more. Your computer might be "own3d" (compromised) and now part of a "botnet" (i.e., a network of zombie machines used to pirate illegal software, pornography, etc.).
How do you get "own3d"? Spyware could be downloaded when you click on one of those ubiquitous pop-up ads, or when installing other software. Some software license agreements will indicate that installing a product also grants permission to install adware or tracking software on your computer, so understand what you're agreeing to before you click OK.
Windows users can install Spybot Search & Destroy, free software that lets you scan your computer for spyware and immunize it against potential spyware attacks. Mac users can find products on the Apple site, such as the spyware removal tool MacScan.
- Protect your mobile device, too » We also recommend that you install a security app for your device. See Securing Your Mobile Device Apps for details.
- Use a Brown-Secure wireless connection » Connection instructions for Windows, Macs and Android devices; download secure wireless for your Apple mobile device
- Play Beware of Spyware and Invasion of the Wireless Hackers to see if you can spot the clues and stop hack attacks.
Read more at: Malware Menaces: Viruses, Spyware, Botnets & More
Next » Quick Tip #2: Lock It Up