Use an Anti-Malware application and keep it up to date.

Once you've ensured that there are no gaping holes in your machine's defenses, it's time to think about taking action against anything malicious that might slip through.

Viruses or worms can exploit previously unknown (or "zero-day") security holes and set up shop on your machine, using it as a launching point to infect or attack other systems.

Other types of malicious software is created with the intention of financial gain, with the creator being paid for every advertisement he can pop up on your desktop, going to market with your private information, or even assuming your identity to make purchases. This sort of software is referred to as "spyware". Spyware is often installed on your machine with your permission, tagging along with a game or application that you want to use, or it can be installed by certain network worms. It then begins collecting information about you and sending it to someone else.

This is where an Anti-malware application becomes necessary. Columbia students, faculty, and staff are provided with a free license for Symantec Endpoint Protection. This software can be installed both at home and in the office.

While scanning a machine with an Anti-malware application is a good measure, it does not need to be done every day. The "realtime protection" functionality is much more immediately helpful. This functionality will attempt to stop and quarantine malware as it attempts to execute.

Keep in mind that an Anti-malware application cannot defeat viruses or spyware that it does not know about, so it's very important that it be kept up to date. Symantec and Norton products use something called LiveUpdate to accomplish this. LiveUpdate can be configured easily to update daily or weekly, but be sure not to set it to a time when the machine will be turned off.

If your office workstation is administered for you, is part of a LAN, or you use the CUIT Central server please contact your system administrator before using the Symantec software.

If you currently have other anti-malware software on your computer, but you would prefer to use Symantec Endpoint Protection, you will need to Un-Install your existing software before installing Symantec Endpoint Protection. If you try to run two Anti-virus programs on your computer, they can conflict with other and not provide any protection at all.

Download page for Symantec Endpoint Protection

Computer Associates Spyware Information Center

Symantec's website

To reach this page quickly in the future, use the keyword antivirus.

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