- Library & Technology
- Hours & Locations
- Library Collections
- Library Research
- Technology Support
- Getting Started
- About Us
- Friends of the Library
What is a computer virus, trojan or adware?
A virus is computer program whose purpose is to propagate itself by traveling from file to file and from computer to computer, often destroying files in the process. Computer viruses spread by several means, including floppy and zip disks, e-mail attachments, web pages, and file-sharing. The best way to prevent viruses from infecting your computer files is to ensure that you have adequate virus-protection software installed on your computer.
A trojan is a computer program whose purpose is to leave the infected computer open for hackers to gain access and install software, look at personal files, or use the computer for illegal purposes. Some trojans are not as harmful as others, but if you do find a trojan on your computer please strongly consider backing up, formatting, and reinstalling Windows. Trojans usually infect computers through unpatched security holes in Windows and Internet Explorer.
Adware and spyware are computer programs that can do a wide range of things. Two of the main purposes are to collect data from your computer and report it back to the company, and to display popup windows of ads whether or not you are viewing websites at the time. These programs can get onto the computer any number of ways. The most common ways are as part of freeware programs such as file sharing programs, by displaying confusing dialog boxes on websites to confuse people into clicking Yes to install them, or through security holes in Internet Explorer while you browse websites.
Because of these dangers, Wellesley College provides AntiVirus and to protect against viruses and trojans, and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against adware and spyware..
Wellesley College provides Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection and virus-definition updates on all College-owned computers, and allows a single license for one install of a SCEP product on a single personal computer owned by Wellesley College students, faculty, and staff. Since new viruses are constantly being discovered, you must keep both your anti-virus software package and your virus definitions (the library of virus descriptions anti-virus programs use to recognize and remove viruses) up to date and scan your hard drive regularly. To learn how to install or update your anti-virus software or to scan your hard drive for viruses, see below to find the information on FirstClass.
If you have older versions of our previously recommended Antivirus product, McAfee VirusScan for Windows (7.0, 8.0. or 8.5), or Virex for OS X (7.7), or VirusScan for OS X (8.0, 8.5, or 8.6), please see the following page on System Center Endpoint Protection here or contact the helpdesk for assistance.
You can dramatically reduce your computer's chances of being attacked by viruses by Securing your Computer .
How do I check for and remove Adware and Spyware from my computer?
Anyone who browses the web, uses instant messaging software, or file sharing software with a Windows computer is very likely to have software installed on their computer without their knowledge. Such software, called Malware, Spyware, or Adware, will slow down the computer or cause the computer to stop working. In an attempt to help combat this problem, the College has included the McAfee AntiSpyware Module with VirusScan 8.7 and purchased a site license for Malwarebytes. The AntiSpyware Module is installed with VirusScan 8.7. Malwarebytes can be installed from our website (on campus only).
What else is Library & Technology Services doing to protect the campus against computer viruses?
Every IS-maintained public computer on campus is equipped with the latest version of Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection and receives regular definition updates. NTM and other IS-owned servers are also runningAntiVirus products, receive regular definition updates, and perform scheduled scans.
For additional protection against email viruses, Library & Technology Services is using Sophos PureMessage software to scan all email entering Wellesley College's email system from the Internet.
If you have reason to suspect your computer is infected with a virus (you have opened a suspicious e-mail attachment, your computer is suddenly crashing or running slowly, you receive error messages whenever you start up your computer or try to launch an application, a friend or colleague has warned you that they have received an infected e-mail attachment from you), please contact the Computing Help Desk at x3333 (faculty or staff) or x7777 (students) for assistance removing the virus.
Searchable libraries of information on known computer viruses, including symptoms and removal instructions:
Information on virus hoaxes such as "SULFNBK.EXE," "AOL4Free," and "Good Times":