Virus/Malware Prevention for Personally Owned Computers

Anti-Virus Software:

Install an anti-virus program and keep it up to date. Antivirus options are available at

Software Updates:

Many types of malware takes advantage of published vulnerabilities in software applications and your operating systems files. Vendors frequently publish updates for their products. Most current operating systems will download and install system or application updates and patches automatically, however you’re usually able to decide when updates are applied. Keep in mind that it’s often critical that you install these updates as they often contain important security patches. Don’t put off installation longer than absolutely necessary or turn off automatic updates unless you fully understand the risks.

Always be sure to use a secure and up to date browser, as this is often your most critical application in terms of keeping your devices safe and secure.

Additionally, most browsers support the installation and usage of customizations called add-ons and plugins. While running too many can result in instability and some security focused add-ons might cause some inconveniences such certain elements of pages not being displayed, we recommend learning about some of the options out there which will enhance your security.

    1. AdBlock blocks many advertisements commonly displayed on webpages. Most of these are simply annoying, but some are used to attempt to deliver malware.
    2. Ghostry is a browser extension designed to help secure your information and identity from a wide range of tracking techniques that are used online to collect and sell your personal information.
    3. No Script allows the user to control JavaScript and other web functionality programming which, while it adds functionality to websites, can also be used for malicious purposes.
    4. Flashblock allows the user to choose when to run flash animations, some of which could be malicious.

Avoiding Email-Borne Viruses:

In addition to some of the precautions above, avoiding email viruses can also be impacted by being aware of how to avoid them:

    1. Avoid opening an email attachment file if you don’t know EXACTLY what it is, do not know the person who sent it or were not expecting it (even if you do know the person who sent it). This rule especially applies to files with “.vbs”, “.pif”, “.scr”, “.bat” and “.exe” extensions and all files with a double extension suffix (e.g., “.bat.exe”).
    2. The safest practice is simply to delete ANY unknown files you’re sent upon receipt. If you’re ever unsure about the safety of any attachment or link, contact your local IT Support staff or the UWM Helpdesk before clicking on anything you don’t trust.