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Safe Computing—Virus Protection

by Marilyn Cariola

By now, almost everyone at the lab knows not to click on unexpected attachments received in e-mail messages, particularly those from unknown persons. However, it still happens. Here are some tips to keep your computer safe.

• Avoid temptation. Do not click attachments you didn't request, including links and images sent via instant messages. Confirming someone meant to send you a file before opening it can save many hours of lost productivity and prevent irrecoverable data loss.

• Avoid, too, the temptation to install programs found on the Internet. Viruses are often hidden in executable programs. Download applications only from trusted Web sites at home and use only authorized programs at work.

• Always run antivirus software. It runs in the background and typically prevents viruses and worms from wreaking havoc.

Anti-virus software helps to protect from known viruses but cannot always protect from new ones. The antivirus signature files must be updated at least daily. For your SLAC-managed computer this is generally handled by Scientific Computing and Computer Services and your desktop administrator. Laptop users traveling for extended periods should get updates by connecting back to the SLAC network or through download from the vendor's Web site. On home computers, run full scans often. If you have children using the computer, do it at least once a week.

Sophos Anti-Virus 7 is available to all regular and emeritus Stanford University faculty and staff, including SLAC, as defined in Guide Memo 23.1, Definitions. You need a SUNet ID to download the software. If you are eligible, but do not have a SUNet ID, you can sign up for one here. With your SUNet ID, you can download the software online . The software is available for both Macintosh and Windows computers. If you are not eligible, here is a CNET review of products you might want to buy. There are also free anti-virus programs available: see this review from About.com. Computer Security does not make any specific recommendations for home use.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Computer Security.

 

Above article appeared in Nov. 11, 2008 SLAC Today.

Owner: SLAC Computer Security
Last Updated: 07/22/2010
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