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FAQ: Viruses, Malware & Phishing

How can I tell if my computer has a virus or not?

If your computer has an anti-virus software program installed on it, it should notify you right away when it discovers a virus.  If your computer does not have anti-virus protection, there may not be any way to tell until it is too late.  Your computer may develop random errors or popup windows.  It may slow down to the point where it is unusable.  It also might shut itself down or restart.  It can also potentially email everyone in your address book with an infectious message and potentially cause their computers to become infected as well.  If you suspect your computer may have a virus and your computer has DeepFreeze installed, just restart your computer to remove the virus.  If it continues to become a problem for you, please contact the Technology Department.

What should I do if I know my computer has a virus?

If your computer reports that it found a virus or malware, read the message carefully.  It should tell you if the anti-virus program was able to clean or quarantine the virus.  If it was not able to clean or quarantine the virus, then the computer will automatically notify the Technology Department via email that a virus was found and was not cleanable.  If it was able to clean the virus, then you will usually not need to take any further action other than restarting the computer if it instructs you to do so. 

If your computer does not have and anti-virus program, but has DeepFreeze installed on it, just restart your computer.  DeepFreeze will clean up any malware or viruses that infect the computer.

What is a virus?

Computer viruses are small software programs that are designed to spread from one computer to another and to intefere with computer operation.  A virus might corrupt or delete data on your computer, use your email program to spread itself to other computers, or even erase everything on your hard disk.  

How do viruses spread?

Computer viruses are often spread by attachments in email messages.  Viruses can be disguised as attachments of funny images, greeting cards, or audio and video files.  That is why it is essential that you never open email attachments unless you know who it is from and you are expecting it.  Computer viruses also spread through downloads on the internet.  They can be hidden in illicit software or other files or programs you might download.  

What is malware?

Malware, short for malicious software, is software that secretly accesses a computer without the user's knowledge.  

How does malware get on a computer?

Malware can become installed on a computer without the owner's informed consent through a download from the Internet, a program installation, or even by simply connecting to the Internet in some cases.  

How can I avoid viruses and malware in the first place?

The most important thing to prevent virus and malware infection is to have a good defense in place.  EHOVE has a number of defenses it employs to combat viruses and malware: a series of strong firewalls, anti-virus software, system monitoring tools and security safeguards that have been put in place.  It's important to be cautious with email attachments and installing programs.  You should not install any programs without the Technology Department's approval or notice.