This article provides information on protecting yourself from viruses, malware, and other malicious software. This includes good protection software to have, helpful tips, and what to do next if you think you've been infected.
Staff: Antivirus software is already managed on work machines – you will not need the software listed below.
- Windows → Symantec Endpoint Protection is offered by the University for free.
- Windows 8/10 → Windows Defender is the default antivirus software on Windows 8 & above.
- MacOS → Symantec Endpoint Protection is also offered for MacOS by the University.
- MalwareBytes scans your computer for any potential malicious or suspicious software & processes.
- AdwCleaner targets malicious software specifically designed to redirect web pages or cause popups.
- Disk Cleanup is a default Windows program that allows for easy deletion of temporary files to both cleanup space and make your computer safer.
Please keep in mind that Student Support has had issues with the full suites of:
Be Aware of Sites & Attachments
As computers become more networked and standardized, it gets easier and easier to catch computer viruses. You can get viruses from downloads over the internet, from opening e-mail attachments, or from another infected system or device.
Many self-propagating viruses will mail themselves to you before the original sender has discovered that his/her machine is infected. Be suspicious of any attachment, but be extra-vigilant about inappropriate subject lines and attachment titles (for example, if someone you barely know sends you an e-mail called "ILOVEYOU").
Backup Data Frequently
Some viruses are so damaging that they will render your files useless or unrecoverable. In that case, your only hope of recovery is with back-ups made prior to infection.
Update, update, update!
Microsoft & software developers frequently releases patches to fix known issues for their services. These fixes include known security issues that may leave your computer or program vulnerable to viruses and other attacks. To update your operating system, follow the instructions on Microsoft's Windows Update website at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com.
Symantec Endpoint Protection
The University of Pennsylvania offers free antivirus software to students in the form of Symantec Endpoint Protection. Below are the links to download this software along with some Frequently Asked Questions. For more information such as recommendations and helpful tips, please see our full Virus Protection article.
Wharton Computing recommends using this software on MacOS devices. Windows 8 & 10 devices are already protected by the built-in antivirus software, Windows Defender.
Note: If you're still running Windows 7, Wharton Computing recommends updating to Windows 10 for optimal performance.
What if I already have anti-virus software?
If you are satisfied with your current antivirus software and are able to update the virus definition files on a regular basis then you can continue the use of your current anti-virus software but might need an additional anti-spyware program. If you are not able to update the virus definition files or your antivirus subscription is expired you will need to switch to Symantec Endpoint Protection.
Why should I switch to Symantec Endpoint Protection?
The university pays for a Symantec subscription that includes virus definition updates and spyware scans in addition to virus scans. It is also supported by Wharton Computing, so you will be able to get assistance with the program should you encounter any problems.
Will I get technical support if I switch to Symantec Endpoint Protection?
Yes, Wharton Computing offers support for Symantec Endpoint Protection and will be able to help you install and configure the antivirus software.
How do I ensure my definition files are always up to date? (Windows)
Symantec Endpoint Protection can be configured to search for updates and download them automatically so the virus definition files will be up-to-date. To do this, follow the steps listed below:
- Open the Symantec Endpoint Protection client from Start -> All Programs or by clicking on the yellow shield icon on your system tray .
- Click the Change Settings option, and select Configure Settings in the Client Management section, then choose the Scheduled Updates tab. Choose the frequency for the Updates to be run.
- By default the Updates should be scheduled to run every day at 8:00pm. Select a time that you are likely to be online.
- You can also run an instant update by clicking the Live Update option on the main screen.
How do I setup routine virus scans? (Windows)
Symantec Endpoint Protection has real-time virus protection that will stop most viruses before they infect your computer, but from time to time viruses or spyware may infect your computer before the virus definitions are updated. You should, therefore set up Symantec Endpoint Protection to do a full scan of your computer at least every week. To do this, follow the steps listed below:
- Open the Symantec Endpoint client from Start → All Programs or by clicking on the yellow shield icon on your system tray.
- Click the Options button in the Proactive Threat Protection section, then choose Change Settings.
- Choose the Scan Frequency tab and select the At Custom Scan Frequency option.
- Select set a day and time where your computer will be on, but you are likely not to be using it, then click OK.
- Click Next. Select all hard drives on your computer and then select Options.
How do I ensure my definition files are always up to date? (Mac)
Symantec Endpoint Protection can be configured to search for updates and download them automatically. To do this, follow the steps listed below:
- Open Symantec Endpoint Protection from your toolbar.
- Click Settings.
- Select LiveUpdate from the tabs.
- Select a time or time interval when your computer will be on and not in heavy use and click Apply Changes.
- You can also run an instant update by clicking Status and selecting LiveUpdate Now.
How do I set up routine virus scans? (Mac)
Symantec Endpoint Protection has real-time virus protection that will stop most viruses before they infect your computer, but from time to time viruses or spyware may infect your computer before the virus definitions are updated. You should therefore set up Symantec Endpoint Protection to do a full scan of your computer at least every week. To do this, follow the steps listed below:
- Open Symantec Endpoint Protection from your toolbar.
- Click Settings.
- Under Scheduled Scans, select configure.
- Click Add Scheduled Scans.
- Select the items you would like to be scanned.
- Select Scan Schedule from the tabs.
- Select a time or time interval when your computer will be on and not in heavy use and click OK.
If your computer has a virus... (Students)
If you think you have a virus, please stay calm & follow the directions in our Virus Removal article. We also encourage you to call, email, or drop by our Support Office (SHDH 114) in-person so we can help with the situation.
Faculty & Staff should contact their Academic Representative or IT Support below.
Students - email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty - contact your Academic Distributed Representative (login required).
Staff - email email@example.com.