Preventing Malware Infections

This article lists some simple best practices for avoiding malware infection. By following these tips you can siginificantly reduce risk to your computer and private data.

Although technology can play a significant role in protecting your data, remember that the human element of security is often the weakest link in the chain. Many malware infections can be avoided simply by adopting a common-sense, healthy skepticism toward whatever (and whomever) you encounter online.

  1. Only open links and downloaded files that you trust completely. If you didn't solicit a download link or a file attachment from someone - even if you know that individual - it should be treated as potentially unsafe. If possible, follow up in person with the sender to verify they in fact sent you something. It's possible their account has been compromised and is being used to spread malware. Likewise, avoid sites offering pirated entertainment; these often spread malware through fake files and bogus media player plugins.
  2. Install an antivirus program and keep it updated. Xavier-issued computers already have Trend OfficeScan installed on them. OfficeScan will protect your computer full-time and run scans/updates as needed. Personal computers have several options:
    • Windows 8/10 - These operating systems have Windows Defender software built-in. Installing additional AV software is optional
    • Other editions of Windows and MacOS X - Avast and Avira are among the highest-rated free products available.
  3. Keep your operating system and software up to dateAdobe products, Java plugins, web browsers and operating systems all have security holes which can be exploited, if updates aren't applied regularly. Likewise, check and run system updates for MacOS X and Windows regularly. Xavier-issued Windows computers perform Windows Updates automatically and do not require intervention.
  4. Pay attention when installing software. Some software installers bundle unnecessary toolbars and other junk, that potentially intrude on your security and privacy. If possible, opt for a "custom install" that allows you to deselect such items. 


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Article ID: 32
Tue 6/2/15 2:45 PM
Tue 11/7/23 3:58 PM

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