The Office of Information Technology has virus scanning solutions available
for ISU students, faculty and staff to download. Microsoft Forefront protects against viruses
and Trojan horses, as well as malicious ActiveX and Java Applets. It is
available in two versions, regular and slim. Download and run the regular
version if you already have McAfee running on your machine. It will
automatically uninstall McAfee and install Forefront for you. If you don't have
McAfee running on your computer just download and install the slim version.
You may download these programs, free of charge, by going to
download.indstate.edu. Your Sycamore
login and password are required in order to download.
For ISU students, faculty, and staff home use we recommend that they
download Microsoft Security Essentials from:
The Office of Information Technology offers McAfee Antivirus software for the
Macintosh. You may download this program, free of charge, by going to download.indstate.edu. Your Sycamore
login and password are required in order to download.
Protecting your computer from Spyware, Adware and Viruses
Malware (short for malicious software) is a term coined to
describe programs which are ultimately detrimental to the computing experience.
Viruses are the most visible and publicized malware but there are other types,
specifically adware and spyware, which are less obviously a threat but perhaps
even more of a nuisance. This page will describe the various types of malware
and what steps should be taken to remove them or, if possible, prevent their
Viruses and Worms
A virus is a computer program designed to install itself on a computer
without the user's knowledge and then perform some task. Most commonly viruses
will try to infect other machines, open up the infected machine to outside
access or cause damage to files. A worm typically is installed when a user
launches an infected e-mail attachment. The worm then uses the mail system (and
address books) of the infected computer to send infected e-mails to other users.
Using a virus-scan product and keeping current with Windows Updates are the best methods
available to prevent infections. Users should also be wary of unexpected e-mail
attachments, even if they come from someone they know.
Adware and Spyware
Adware is software which is free to the user or available at a reduced cost
because it displays advertisements either in the software window itself or in
separate pop-up windows. By itself adware is merely irritating as the user must
contend with unwanted pop-up windows while running the ad-supported software.
Spyware is any software which utilizes the bandwidth of the machine on which it
is installed to communicate with the parent company. Statistics about one's
browsing habits, installed software and other information are collected by these
companies and then either sold as market research or used by the company itself
to target ads at the user.
Together (often a program works as both adware and spyware) they represent a
serious invasion of the user's privacy and could use up considerable bandwidth
and processor resources communicating with the developer and downloading ad
It is often difficult to identify this software without a thorough reading of
the end user license agreement. Companies which distribute this software use
many tricks to entice users to install their programs. Two common channels by
which malware is installed are pop-ups which look like a security warning and
opt-out installers. Users should familiarize themselves with these methods and
use discretion when agreeing to anything on the web.
Spoofed Security Warnings - Some malware installation requests are designed to
look like a typical security request from the browser. The tendency is for
people to accept anything that pops up which they feel is restricting them from
viewing a particular page. When a user clicks yes, thinking they are accepting a
security certificate, they actually are giving permission to install whatever
software the distributor wishes to push to their computer. To prevent these
installations one only has to read carefully any requests that pop-up while
browsing and make sure they are indeed required. If you are unsure, answer no
and then if you have problems with that particular web page, go back and answer
yes when the request appears.
Opt-out Installers – Some web-sites which require a user registration include
opt-out installers for various pieces of adware and spyware. An opt-out
installer is one such that if you do not explicitly decline whatever software
they are offering, it will be installed by default once you complete your
registration for the site. The tools to decline the installation are often
deliberately inconspicuous and typically the installation happens without the
user's knowledge. Opt-out installers are also seen quite often in the
installation packages for "free" software such as screen-savers, download
managers, games, shopping assistants and web accelerators.
Users are not often aware that their machine is host to malware until it
begins to affect performance. Excessive pop-ups or slow network access may be
the only indication that the computer has been "infected".
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Users
should take the following steps to be sure their machines are as secure as
- Keep Windows up to date - Use the Windows Update feature of your operating
system to be sure you have all of the most recent security and functionality
- Keep anti-virus software current - Users should be running an anti-virus
package such which continually scans the computer for viruses and other threats. It is vital that the virus information be kept up to
date; otherwise its effectiveness will be greatly diminished.
- Install and configure a firewall - Enable Internet Connection Firewall under Windows to monitor and
block internet traffic.
For the removal of spyware, OIT recommends and uses a program called SpyBot
Search and Destroy. Freely available from
http://security.kolla.de, users may install and run this software which
scans their machine for known spyware, adware and tracking information. It works
similarly to a virus scanner and will recognize and eliminate the vast majority
of spyware programs.
New malware threats appear almost daily so it is important that users take
the time to become familiar with the information and tools which are available
to combat the problem. Below is a list of links to many resources related to the
problem of malware.
At this site, you can obtain a free version of a malware removal tool.
The official website for McAfee VirusScan carries alerts about current threats,
a virus information library and many other tools and articles which will assist
one in fighting viruses.