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Guide to Avoiding Spyware and Viruses
Have virus and firewall protection

Anti-virus software is a good idea regardless of whether or not a computer connects to the Internet as viruses can spread through CDs and floppy disks as well. This will help prevent a computer from being infected, however, anti-virus software should be updated regularly to detect new viruses.

Firewalls provide a simple filtering of traffic on the Internet coming to your computer. They filter traffic that hackers use to detect weaknesses and security flaws on the computer while still giving users a clear path out to the Internet.

Walters State employs both anti-virus software and a firewall on all computers installed at the college and all off-campus sites.

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Use the E-mail Client's Spam Filters

Several e-mail clients now have there own Spam Filters built in to them. Outlook 2003 and Entourage X both have Spam or Junk mail filters that track the use of words that are normally used in spam like "make money fast" and use them to identify spam.

Computers on campus with Outlook 2003 have their spam filtering turned on HIGH.

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Don't Open Emails with Questionable or Subject Lines

Strange subject lines usually indicate something suspicious, such as a virus. Delete suspicious emails immediately. Blank subject lines may also indicate a suspicious email.

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Don't Reply to Spam, Delete It Immediately

Reputable mailers allow users to unsubscribe, or remove addresses from a mailing list. Unfortunately, spammers take advantage of this system and use replies as a verification of e-mail addresses--leading to even more junk mail. As a rule, don't reply to junk mail that wasn't signed up for in the first place.

Spam is designed to keep your attention as long as possible, so the best way to deal with it is to just delete it.

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Verify the source of any Unknown Files or Attachments

One of the most common ways of obtaining a virus is through infected email attachments. No matter how enticing the attachment seems – don't open attachments when the content is unknown.

When receiving attachments it is wise to contact the sender to verify they sent it because some viruses automatically mail themselves to people in address books.

Also, be wary of files downloaded over Instant Messenger or any other program. Try to ensure the source of the file is reputable and legitimate before accepting it.

Our e-mail server detects and deletes virus infected e-mails much the same way virus scanners do on a computer. Users will still receive the message but the infected file will be replaced by the warning.htm file.

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Don't Download or Install Software from the Internet

Known by many names like Trojans, worms, mal-ware, spy-ware or ad-ware, it all boils down to just being malicious software. These types of software do things to computers without anyone knowing about it.

These programs can share files on the internet, send personal information to spammers, pop up ads to distract from computer use and may even damage the computer.

File sharing software like Kazaa, browser plug-ins like Common Name, e-mail plug-ins like Hotbar are notorious for these types of behavior.

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Choose carefully who gets your e-mail address

Spam and viruses both use e-mail addresses to spread. Spammers may try to pretend to be you to trick others into opening a website. Also, viruses can pretend to be you to spread itself through e-mail. So here are ways to avoid this:

Do
* Use a free e-mail service like Hotmail to post on websites.
* Share e-mail with friends and co-workers
* Submit correct information to reputable websites
* Place e-mail address on Business Cards

Dont's
* Don't submit e-mail addresses to websites
* Never type addresses in chat rooms.
* Don't post it on the internet on websites or forums.

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Be careful of tricky websites

Even legitimate businesses can be spammers. Legitimate businesses can use the same tactics as virus writers to spread news about their products. There are also websites that make money by assisting spammers collect e-mail addresses.

When giving information to a website with a trustable name look carefully for any checkbox that may sign an e-mail address up for newsletters or mailing lists that no one wants to see.

In many cases, websites that request e-mail addresses and other personal information link to a privacy statement that outlines the Web site's use of that information. If there is a privacy statement, READ THE STATEMENT. If a site doesn't post a privacy statement or the statement doesn't guarantee your privacy, think twice about posting information there.

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Have the Latest Security Patches and updates

Occasionally, the security flaws in software may be serious enough to open a computer to malicious hackers. Security flaws may also allow viruses to damage the computer and spread faster.

Automated systems are used to keep virus scanners up to date at Walters State. Also plans are being made to automatically update other software to prevent infections.

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Beware of Hoaxes

Virus Hoaxes are false announcements about viruses. Virus Hoaxes occasionally contain instructions for "cleaning" or deleting a virus from a computer, but the instructions may involve deleting essential Windows files, and have nothing to do with viruses at all.

Before following any instructions in an email warning of a virus, check the McAfee Hoax page and/or the Symantec Hoax page to learn whether a virus is fake or real.

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Beware of Strangers

Some of the craftiest hackers do their best work over the phone or just making sure they are in the wrong place at the right time. Use caution when doing anything for anyone unless that person is known to be trustworthy.

It is also wise to logout of a computer before leaving it, even for a few minutes. This is to keep people from doing things on the computer that will be regretted later.

Many spammers and viruses may "spoof" or pretend to be Walters State employees to try and trick e-mail recipients. We continually monitor the network for viruses and spamming to ensure that no one on our network becomes infected. So if someone says that someone from Walters State is sending viruses, rest assured that you are being protected.

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Use Tools for Removing Viruses, Spyware and Pop-ups

Often popups, viruses and spyware can get installed even if users are being careful. Luckily if one of these programs finds its way onto a system there is a way to remove many of them. Housecall, Ad-aware and Spybot Search & Destroy are very useful in removing viruses, spyware and adware.

Below are instructions for installing and using Housecall and Windows Defender.

Windows Defender


Microsoft has developed a spyware removal application that has a lot of features.

It not only provides removal but also automatically updates itself and provides real-time protection. Real-time protection means that it can catch and remove spyware as soon as it starts entering the computer.

Windows Defender can be download from here The site also includes tutorials on how to install and how to use the software.

Housecall (Free Virus scanning and removal)

1. Go to http://housecall.trendmicro.com
2. Click the "Scan Now. It's Free!" link.
3. Select your location. (United States for example.)
4. Click the "Go" button.
5. The scanner will download. Follow the rest of the instructions on the page.

Walters State employs MacAfee anti-virus software that is updated every time a user logs into a Walters State computer. Files are scanned when someone tries to save or open it. The scanner is set to clean any infected files automatically and to stop any file it can't clean.

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Guide Menu

Have Virus and Firewall Protection

Use the E-mail Client's Spam Filters

Don't Open Emails with Questionable Subject Lines

Don't Reply to Spam, Delete It Immediately

Verify the Source of Any Unknown Files or Attachments

Don't Download or Install Software from the Internet

Choose Carefully Who Gets Your E-mail Address

Be Careful of Tricky Websites

Have the Latest Security Patches and Updates

Beware of Hoaxes

Beware of Strangers

Use Tools for Removing Viruses, Spyware and Pop-ups