Virus and Malware Protection
Everyone knows about viruses and how much trouble they cause, but viruses are actually part of a larger group of malicious programs called malware. Simply put, they are malicious programs that run without your permission. They can modify other programs on your computer, spread to other devices, and send information to hackers. There are many different kinds of malware, and each works differently.
Effects can range from annoying pop-ups to destroyed data and crashed software.
Commonly used by hackers as a way into your system so that other malware can be installed.
Similar to viruses in the type of damage it causes.
Malicious bots will propagate, connect back to the hacker, and then be used for mass attacks.
Allows criminals to spy on you, paving the way for identity theft, blackmail, and other vicious crimes.
Toggle ItemHow do I keep malware off my device?There are several methods to prevent malware from entering your system:
Educate yourself on how malware works (good job, you're already doing that!)
Install antivirus software on your computer. Be sure to research the software for legitimacy, since malware will sometimes be disguised as antivirus software. Some commonly used softwares include Norton, Avast!, McAfee, and AVG. BYU uses Sophos for our enterprise security software. Sophos Home is available for free.
Don't click on unfamiliar links. If you aren't sure where the link came from or where it goes, it's not worth the risk. One good practice is to hover over the link to see its URL appear in the bottom right corner of your browser. If it goes somewhere unexpected, it's probably malware.
Read emails carefully if they come from an unfamiliar sender. Spelling and grammar errors can reveal a hacker trying to trick you. See our phishing page for more information.
Don't visit sites that offer free access to things you should be paying for. It is always a gamble whether the files you are accessing are clean. This includes file-sharing sites.
Don't give out personal information to anyone without verifying how it will be used and by whom. Make sure people are who they say they are.
Don't give remote access to your computer to strangers.
Our pages on Software Updates, Two-Factor Authentication, Passwords, and Backups give even more tips for preventing malware attacks.
Toggle ItemHow do I know if I've been infected with malware?1. Your Anti-virus and Task Manager (Activity Monitor for Mac) are disabled or show reduced information and can't be restarted.
2. Your friends receive social media invites from someone claiming to be you.
3. Your browser will have extra toolbars that you didn’t install.
4. Your password for a site no longer works, even if you are absolutely certain you are entering the correct one.
5. Your mouse begins to move on its own and it makes selections that make sense.
6. You receive calls about nonpayment of shipped goods when you didn’t buy anything.
7. There is a message on your screen about paying a ransom.
8. There are constant notifications about installing an antivirus program when you already have one or you have dismissed the notification multiple times
9. Your search engine results don’t quite match up with what you searched for
10. There is software installed on your computer that you didn’t install
11. Most of your money is gone from your online accounts
Toggle ItemWhat should I do if I've been infected with malware?
- Don't panic.
- Turn off your system if you see suspicious activity (like a cursor moving on its own).
- Uninstall all software that wasn't installed by you.
- Contact your financial institution if money has been stolen.
- Restore your systems with any backups you may have kept.
- Change the password to any of your accounts that may have been compromised.