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Securing your Windows Computer

Viruses are a constant threat for any computer that’s connected to the internet. If viruses are detected on your computer that is connected to the UofM network, you may be temporarily disconnected from internet services until the viruses are removed.

The Helpdesk can help students get their computers cleaned in case of infections (at no cost), however the cleanup process generally takes at least several days and if this happens during finals week it can cause quite a problem.

Here are some basic things you should know about viruses to help you avoid an infection and in some cases to remove viruses once you have them.

No antivirus software can prevent viruses.

No matter which antivirus software you have installed, you can always get a virus. For this reason, the Helpdesk does not recommend paying for an antivirus client. You should have an antivirus client installed, as it will often alert you that you have a virus, but do not count on your antivirus client to prevent infections.

The Helpdesk recommends one (not both) of the following antivirus clients:

The only way to keep your computer safe from viruses is to not do the things that get you viruses in the first place.

Do not download movies, music, TV shows, etc from the internet. This is probably the number one way that students get viruses. Not only is it illegal, but it will infect your computer.

Just going to a bad website is enough to get a virus. Use your own judgment when visiting websites. If the website is associated with illicit activities there is a good chance you may get a virus just from going to it.

Be careful of suspicious email that wants you to click on a link or open an attachment. Spam emails are very common these days and any email that wants you to enter account information or verify personal information should automatically make you suspicious.

If you got a virus, it is from something you did on your computer. 100% of viruses can be avoided if you recognize the warning signs and stick to legitimate, safe places on the internet.

Run regular scans with a trusted AntiSpyware Program.

In addition to having antivirus software installed, you should also implement at least one AntiSpyware program that you can run regular scans with that will find harmful things that your antivirus may miss.

The Helpdesk recommends MalwareBytes AntiMalware. It is not necessary to purchase the premium version as the free version is adequate for scanning your computer.

Keep your computer up to date.

There are several things on your computer that constantly need updates. Ensuring that these updates are run is the best thing you can do to keep yourself protected from viruses. Over 90 percent of virus infections would have been prevented if the following components were fully updated:

  • Windows Updates
  • Java
  • Adobe Reader and Flash Player
  • Antivirus and Antispyware Programs

If in doubt, consult the Helpdesk.

The UMM Helpdesk is located in HFA 123 and is open from 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday. The Helpdesk can be reached by phone at (320) 589-6150 or by email at ummhelp@morris.umn.edu.

If you have any questions about your computer, viruses, or anything else technology related please don’t hesitate to contact us. No question is too small for us to answer and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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