What is malware?
Short for "malicious software,” malware is designed to harm your computer (e.g. delete files, steal passwords, turn off protection, or otherwise make your PC unusable) or send information to an unauthorized individual. Common types of malware include:
- Adware – nuisance software you unknowingly allow to be installed on your computer. Many programs, especially free screensavers, free cursors, browser toolbars, etc., will install adware as a byproduct. Adware may redirect your browser to a Web site you didn’t intend, or monitor your Web surfing habits and send that information, over the Internet, back to the Adware server.
- Spyware – similar to adware, it is often software that likely never gave you a choice to install it or not. Many free software programs may have spyware or a virus, including free file sharing programs. Spyware may do some of the same things as adware, plus steal passwords, log your keystrokes, and provide a method for installing a virus on your computer.
- Virus, Trojan, Bot, or Worm – terms used to indicate malware that can spread when executed. In the past, computer users would have to intentionally click a file or link before the virus could infect their system. Now, there are virus types that can exploit vulnerabilities (like software bugs) in operating systems or other software, such as Adobe Flash, Shockwave, or PDF Reader. Simply visiting a Web site could infect your computer even if you do not click on anything. A virus can do all sorts of damage to your computer, including spreading to other computers, erasing files, hiding on your system waiting for future instruction, or allowing someone on the outside to use your computer to attack other computers.
What are typical symptoms of malware?
Malware can make your system difficult to use. Symptoms can include:
- Quick-onset system behavior changes (e.g. unexpected responses or prolonged slow performance) that have not been prompted by you.
- System becomes unstable, causing some programs to crash, or even the whole system to crash.
- Computer reboots itself repeatedly.
- Prolonged glowing of the hard drive indicator light (whether solid or flickering) when you are not reading or writing a file to the drive; this is usually accompanied by abnormally slow computer performance.
What is the GETS anti-virus rollout project, and why are we doing it?
The goal is to install a single, effective, up-to-date anti-virus software (McAfee 8.7) that protects all GETS full-service agencies. Most computers at GETS agencies have some sort of anti-virus software installed today, however:
- A small number have no anti-virus protection at all.
- A small number do not protect against newer malware.
- A small number have outdated anti-virus programs no longer supported by their anti-virus vendor.
- Multiple versions of anti-virus software by multiple vendors are in use across the GETS environment, creating support challenges for the Consolidated Service Desk.
How will the anti-virus rollout affect me?
When your computer’s anti-virus software is updated, your current anti-virus software will be uninstalled, and then the McAfee VirusScan and associated software will be installed. This process could happen overnight while your system is left on, or it could happen during the workday. If it occurs while you are logged in, you will see a pop-up message on your computer screen informing you the installation is about to begin. You will have an option to postpone the installation to allow you to safely complete your current task and save your work. Your computer might perform more slowly during the installation process, but this should last only 30 minutes or less. Then your system should return to normal performance.
How will I know my anti-virus software has been updated?
When your computer has been updated with the McAfee 8.7 software, you will see the VirusScan shield icon in the system tray (the area to the left of the clock on the Windows desktop).
How can I help prevent computer virus infection?
When an e-mail or attachment seems suspicious, trust your instincts and do not open the e-mail, select any links in the e-mail or open attachments.
How can I tell if my anti-virus software is up-to-date?
Right-click the VirusScan shield icon in the system tray, and you will see a menu. If you then click the “About VirusScan Enterprise” in the menu listing, you should see a window with the heading “VirusScan Enterprise + AntiSpyware Enterprise 8.7.0i”. In the window, you will see a line that reads “DAT Created On:”. The date displayed there should be no more than 7 days earlier than the current date.
How often will the anti-virus software check for updates?
VirusScan 8.7 should check for updates automatically several times daily. If your system is powered off, your anti-virus software will likely check for updates within a few minutes of the system being powered on again.
Can I manually prompt the anti-virus software to update?
Yes. Right click on the shield icon in the system tray and select “Update Now…” from the menu to launch a manual update.
Can I initiate a scan of my computer at any time?
Yes. Right click on the shield icon in the system tray and select “On-Demand Scan…”. You can also select “On-Demand Scan” from the McAfee program group under the START button.
Then select “All local drives” and click the Start button on the right to scan your entire computer. You can also scan drives, folders, or individual files by right clicking on them in Windows Explorer, and then selecting the “Scan for threats…” option. This includes entire USB memory drives and individual folders and files.
Does never opening attachments sent from people I don’t know ensure my computer won’t get a virus?
No. Your system can become infected in many ways:
- Clicking on an infected Web site could do it.
- Other infected computers on your local area network could infect your system.
- An e-mail you receive might appear to be from someone you know, but the sender information could be forged (spoofed).
Malware creators are constantly trying to introduce new threats. Be careful.
What happens if the anti-virus software detects a virus?
In most cases, it means malware has been identified, cleaned or quarantined. Detection does not necessarily mean your system is infected.
What should I do if I suspect my computer has a virus?
Contact the Consolidated Service Desk at 1-877-482-3233 to have a support representative help troubleshoot your system.