Viruses

ResNet's Terms and Conditions require users to use an up-to-date anti-virus software on their computer. Cornell College recommends that you download Microsoft Security Essentials if you utilize a windows computer.  To download Security Essentials please use this link.

What are viruses, worms and Trojan Horses?

A virus is a program that replicates itself, usually by attaching itself to other files and programs. A worm is a program that does not infect other programs but makes copies of itself. Trojan horse programs do not replicate nor make copies of themselves, but rely on other "manual" methods of distribution. We use the term "viruses" on this page to cover all forms of infections.

Viruses are spread in a variety of ways. Some Examples:

 

  • email attachments (such as Klez, Badtrans, MyParty)
  • instant messaging links and attachments (such as Aplore)
  • compromised web servers (such as Nimda)
  • Usenet news groups
  • Internet Relay Chat channels
  • file downloads (many backdoor Trojans are embedded with other files)
  •  

    All viruses are different. Some activate on a certain day, but remain dormant until then. Others begin the attack as soon as the machine has been infected. Some viruses can be very damaging.

    How do I protect myself from viruses?

    A good way to protect yourself is to have a virus protection program installed and up-to-date. Before running a download from an unknown website, or opening an email attachment, always be sure to scan the file to ensure that it is not infected. If you do not know the source of a file, do not open it. Even if you know the person who sent you a file, if you were not expecting it you may want to contact them before opening it. This is because many viruses automatically send themselves out to addresses it finds in files on the infected computer.

    What is an anti-virus program?

    An anti-virus program is designed to protect your computer from possible virus infections. Most viruses are designed to operate in the background in a way that the user will not notice. Virus protection programs search for, detect, and attempt to remove these viruses. Anti-virus programs must be kept up-to-date in order for them to provide adequate protection. New viruses are being created every day and your anti-virus program can't always predict what they will be able to do or how they will work.

    Where do I find a virus protection program?

    We recommend that you download Microsoft Security Essentials from this site: http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/  It is free and we have found it works very well on Windows systems.

    Do I have to use Microsoft Security Essentials if I already have anti-virus software installed?

    According to the Terms and Conditions, "All ResNet subscribers are required to use regularly updated anti-virus software on their computer(s). ." If you have anti-virus software already, make certain that it is regularly updated, or consider replacing it with Microsoft Security Essentials. Our managed version will update its virus definitions automatically. If you do choose to replace your anti-virus software with Microsoft Security Essentials, please uninstall your previous program before installing Microsoft Security Essentials.

    What if I'm running Linux or Macintosh, or another operating besides Windows or Macintosh?

    Due to the nature of the operating system, Linux, and other UNIX-like operating systems are not as susceptible to viruses. Thus an anti-virus program is not necessary. However, system security is still very important. If you run Linux, remember to keep your system up to date, don't run services you don't use , and Configure a firewall to protect you.

    What else should I be doing to keep my computer more secure?

    The simplest thing you can do to keep your computer secure is to never run programs you don't know about or don't need. Most viruses come in email attachments or in files downloaded from unknown or unreliable sources. By avoiding these types of files altogether, you can significantly reduce the chances of getting a virus. However, even well known programs can cause problems. Many file sharing applications can install spyware on your system to report information back to another source or provide other methods of accessing or obtaining information from your system. Avoid running programs you don't need in order to prevent unwanted access to your computer.

    Keeping your system up to date is also crucial to system security. Security problems are often found in operating systems and patches are released to correct them. If you run Windows, visit Microsoft Update frequently to downloaded the latest security patches for your computer. Mac OS also includes a Software Updates feature and has security updates available at Apple Product Security.

    To get the latest anti-virus news and information, please visit: