New York University Faculty of Arts and Science College of Arts and Science Graduate School of Arts and Science

Computing Resources

Windows & Macintosh Support

Viruses: How to Protect your PC



ITS Information about Viruses

ITS provides anti-virus software and software updates for all NYU PC and Macintosh users. Norton Anti-Virus, published by Symantec, is available on the NYU-NET 2005/2006 CD. This CD can be obtained from the ITS office at 10 Astor Place at no charge. Norton Anti-Virus software is now also available from ITS via download.

Steps to take if you suspect that your PC or Mac is infected by a virus

If you are a CIMS administrator or your PC is on the CIMSSAM network, please send email to helpdesk@cims.nyu.edu for further assistance.

If you are supporting your own PC or Macintosh, (either desktop or laptop) here are the steps:

Remove your PC or Mac from the network by disconnecting the ethernet cable. This will prevent a virus from spreading to further machines.

If you already have anti-virus software installed and it is up-to-date:

Run an anti-virus scan on all of the hard drives in your computer. Follow the instructions given by the anti-virus software.

If you have anti-virus software on your PC which is out of date, you will need to uninstall the old software completely before installing the ITS Norton Anti-virus software.

START
SETTINGS
CONTROL PANEL
ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS
select the old anti-virus software and remove it
reboot the PC
Install the Norton Anti-virus software that is licensed for NYU use.
Run an anti-virus scan on all of the hard drives in your computer. Follow the instructions given by the anti-virus software.

Note: If you need to update the virus definitions, you may put your machine back on the network to do so but do NOT open any email software (e.g. Outlook, Eudora, Netscape Messenger, etc) on your PC or Mac until the problem has been resolved so that you do not risk emailing the virus to other users. You may however check for email on your Unix account by using x-term emulation software, TELNET, or better yet ... use a terminal in one of the public rooms until the virus problem is resolved.

Please send email to helpdesk@cims.nyu.edu for further assistance if you feel the problem has not been properly resolved or ITS has notified you that your machine is still infected. There are some viruses which the standard anti-virus software cannot handle and these require specific software for correction e.g. the W32.sircam worm and the W23.Badtrans.b@mm worm.

Tips & Tricks for Specific Software Applications: Protecting your PC or Mac from viruses

Microsoft Outlook

MS Outlook is closely aligned with the Windows operating system and malicious code can easily exploit vulnerabilities in Windows. In addition, many viruses exploit vulnerabilities in the MS Outlook Address Book to send out further copies of the virus to everyone in the user's Address Book (including all mailing lists) which is how the infamous "I love you" virus brought down so many systems.

If you wish to use MS Outlook you can protect your system somewhat by avoiding both VIEW / AUTO-PREVIEW and VIEW / PREVIEW PANE. Both of these VIEWS open all messages before you have a chance to delete any suspicious ones. Many viruses are programmed to go into action as soon as the message is opened. It is important that when you check your email that you first delete any suspicious messages without opening them.

Qualcomm's Eudora

Under TOOLS / OPTIONS / VIEWING MAIL be sure that PREVIEW PANE is not selected so that messages are not opened automatically. It is important that when you check your email that you first delete any suspicious messages without opening them.

Windows Updates

It is important with all Windows operating systems to check for updates on a regular basis. The patches provided by Microsoft often contain updates to combat specific vulnerabilities. To updates your Windows system:

open Internet Explorer
Tools
Windows Update
follow the instructions for your specific Windows system. Updates are also often available for Internet Explorer, MS Outlook, and MS office products.