General Tips

Viruses and Antivirus (A/V) software

07.06.2021

Antivirus software is a requirement for BYOD at Tenison Woods College and when combined with a little knowledge, it can help combat many threats found on the internet.
See the bottom of this article for A/V program suggestions

What is a "Computer virus"?

Computer viruses are software programs designed to infect computers and hinder their operations, without the owner knowing they have been installed. Viruses can corrupt or delete data, or even erase the hard drive.

  • Viruses are hidden in illegal software, spread through downloads on the Internet or carried on removable sources, like CDs or USB drives
  • Viruses spread when the software or document they are attached to is transferred from one computer to another – e.g. by attachments in infected e-mail messages

What Is "Malware"?

The term "computer virus" is often – and incorrectly – used to include all "malicious software". In fact, a computer virus is simply a type of malware. Aside from computer viruses, other forms of malware include the following:

Worm: A program that enters a computer network through holes in its security. It then replicates itself and sends copies to other computers in the network. Unlike a virus, it can travel by itself and doesn't need to attach to an existing program.
Trojan: A program that tricks you into opening an e-mail attachment or downloading a file from the Internet. Once activated, the damage may be minor (pop-up windows) or serious (deleted files, stolen data or activation of other malware). Trojan horses can't replicate automatically, but they can provide attackers access to your computer.
Internet Bot: Software that runs simple and repetitive automated tasks over the Internet much quicker than a human can. A malicious bot secretly infects your computer and connects back to a central server where attackers can then gather private information, send spam, and open back-doors on your computer.
Botnet: A group of computers used to run the automatic "bots" simultaneously. Infected computers are sometimes used as a part of a large botnets to carry out malicious attacks on high security sites.
Spyware: Software that's installed on your computer to collect personal information without your knowledge. This is then accessed by advertisers or other interested parties. Spyware can also interfere with control of your computer by changing its settings, slowing connection speed and losing Internet connectivity altogether.
Spam: Unsolicited bulk messages sent randomly, most commonly via email.
Ransomware:  Malware that installs covertly on a victim's computer, executes a cryptovirology attack to lock the system and demands a ransom payment to restore it.
Never send payment or provide credit card details and expect these criminal organisations to restore your files.

What Is "Phishing"?

Phishing is e-mail fraud where seemingly legitimate emails, are sent to scam you. The e-mails direct you to fake websites – claiming to come from trustworthy sources – where you're asked to update personal information, such as passwords, bank account and credit card details.

How well can you spot a phishing email? Take the test here (NOTE: you do not need to use a real name or email address).

How Do I Avoid them?

To avoid viruses, it's important that your computer has the latest security updates and anti-virus tools, you stay informed about recent threats, and follow a few basic rules when surfing the Internet, downloading files and opening attachments:

  • Make sure that your computer's operating system is up-to-date by regularly applying the most recent patches and fixes
  • Install antivirus software, which will find and remove viruses and other malware. Download updates frequently so that your software has the latest fixes, and make sure your antivirus program can scan e-mail and files as they are downloaded from the Internet
  • Install a firewall, which is software designed to monitor all traffic to and from your computer, blocking unauthorised access to a private computer network
  • Be selective about what you download to your computer. Make sure you really need a program before downloading it. If you've never heard of the software maker, read its website carefully to learn more about the people behind the technology, as well as the technology itself.
  • Beware of clickable advertisements. Try to avoid programs--especially freeware--that flash clickable ads. These ads should be a red flag. If you click the ads, it's possible someone is watching how you respond to them.
  • Don't open email attachments unless you're expecting them. Many viruses are attached to email messages and will spread as soon as you open the email attachment. It's best not to open any attachment unless it's something you're expecting. For more information, see How to identify SPAM and Ransomware emails.

Will Antivirus Software Slow Down My Computer?

Fortunately, computers have become very powerful and antivirus software companies constantly optimise their products to have minimal impact on users. Computers should never be used without updated antivirus software installed and are not Windows only! Mac's and other devices can also be infected.

 

Antivirus Suggestions

Antivirus can be purchased individually, or with coverage for multiple devices and/or multiple years. It's best to discuss at the time of purchase as prices can be less if part of a new computer package.
Expect approximately $80 for 12 months coverage for a single device, with multiple devices and years providing further savings.

Norton AntiVirus plus Internet Security  TrendMicro Maximum Secuirty

 

      Norton AV

  • Streamlined user interface
  • Mac/Windows
  • Sold online and at most electronics retailers

 

Trend AV

  • Parental Controls
  • Mac/Windows
  • Sold online and at most electronics retailers

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Some free alternatives

  • Microsoft Defender
    Microsoft's included free with Windows 10 offering has improved greatly in recent years.
  • AVG and Avast
    Both offer free limited antivirus programs, with the option to update to a premium version.
  • Malwarebytes (Windows and Mac)
    Malwarebytes has a premium service, although the free version detects and eliminates malware from your computer at no cost.
  • AdwCleaner
    A fast and free adware removal tool or if your browser home page has been hijacked.

Tenison Woods College respectfully acknowledges the Boandik people are the First Nations people of the Mount Gambier South Eastern region of South Australia and pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, past, present and emerging.