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Computer Problems Easily Avoided with a Few Simple Steps

Back in March, SGA joined up with UDit for the Viruses Byte! Campaign, a campaign focused on raising the awareness of computer viruses within students. SGA passed out a brochure using the best design for their campaign, they included the Top 10 Ways to Prevent Computer Viruses.

According to Casey Rindler, a student worker at UDit, “Students can easily avoid obtaining viruses by using common sense.” Rindler went on to say that one must avoid opening unknown or unsafe attachments as well as pop up windows that may ask for confidential or private information.

One of the most common viruses that UDit runs into is spyware. For those of you unfamiliar with spyware it is basically when a program tries to compromise confidential information like your social security number, credit card number or other personal information.

There are many different ways a student can get viruses including opening e-mail attachments from senders they do not recognize, viewing websites that don’t look safe or even interacting with peer-to-peer file sharing.

Dean Halter, who is the IT Risk Management Officer for UDit, said that students can tell whether the file is safe or whether it is a virus by following a few simple tips.

According to Halter, “Sometimes you can tell and sometimes you cannot. If your machine is popping up a lot of ads, running very slowly or not letting you go where you want to go, your machine may be infected.”

To prevent access to spyware and hackers, students should follow a few easy steps including updating their security software regularly.

Windows comes out with updates on the second Tuesday of every month that have security patches for all types of software. Another thing a student can do is to ensure that their firewall is on. Firewalls restrict who can access the computer. Another good thing to have is a solid password that you do not share with anybody.

Halter also stated that students should have an OSI (Online Security Inspector). An OSI looks at all of your programs on your computer, including Adobe Flash, Reader, Mozilla Firefox etc…, and looks for software that needs to be upgraded.

“If you are a Windows user and your machine is capable, upgrade to Windows 7 to take advantage of being able to run software without needing administrator privileges among other things,” Halter said.

Common sense is still one of the best things a student can use to prevent getting a virus. As long as you are careful of the websites you visit and don’t open anything from somebody you don’t know, you should do just fine.

Halter recommends keeping all of your software patched and upgraded, and he also recommends running a firewall at all times as well as a good antivirus software. Another thing to do is to run a full antivirus check on your computer periodically. If any malicious software is detected, then you should address the problem immediately.

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