Computer Virus and Malware Information

What is Malware?

“Malware” is short for “malicious software”. This is a generic term for software designed to disrupt operations, gather information without permission or knowledge, gain unauthorized access to system resources, and potentially other abusive or damaging behavior. Malware includes viruses, spyware, and other types of harmful software.

Why should you care about malware? Because computer viruses and other malware can:

  • Provide hackers access to your computer
  • Monitor your computer activity, web habits, and even your keystrokes and transmit this information without your knowledge
  • Lead to identity theft
  • Delete files, format disks, lock you out of your computer, or affect your computer’s general performance

NOTE: All computers that are attached to our active directory or have the InCHIP image have the University approved Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware suite installed by default.

What should you do?


All laptop and desktop computers connected to InCHIP’s network must run current, up-to-date software to detect viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Windows servers must run current, up-to-date anti-malware software. Anti-malware software is recommended for other devices where readily available and as appropriate.

  • Install anti-malware software on your computer and set it to auto-update as frequently as the settings will allow.
    • Mobile devices can be just as susceptible to viruses as desktop and laptop computers. Use anti-virus/anti-malware software, if it is available for your device.
  • Periodically double-check to see if your anti-virus/anti-malware software is up to date by opening the program and checking the “Last updated” date.
  • If you get an antivirus alert that there is malware on your computer, contact the InCHIP IT Support Center for assistance.
  • See below for free anti-malware software for UConn faculty, staff and students.



As a general rule, always be wary about opening files or clicking on “mystery links” sent to you via to email, text, instant message (IM), social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, ads and pop-ups. Links, files and attachments may contain or lead to harmful programs that can damage your system, files and the network.

  • Delete spam and suspicious emails without opening or activating any attached files or links; don’t open, forward or reply to the email. You should be suspicious if:
    • An attachment or link in an email message is unexpected or unsolicited
    • The email is not addressed to you by name
    • You don’t recognize the sender or the email says it is from a “friend”
    • You can’t determine why the file or link was sent to you
    • The file name of the attachment ends with EXE, HLP, LNK, MDB, MDE, URL or VBE
  • Don’t click on ads or pop-ups offering anti-virus software or warning you that your computer is infected. These are scams and can infect your computer or cause other harm.
  • Don’t send, forward or open electronic greeting cards, animations, games, joke programs, chain letters, screen savers, songs, videos or images. In addition, they can needlessly consume system resources.
  • Make sure your computer’s operating system and applications are patched and up-to-date.
  • Don’t download or install unknown software or software from an unknown source. Even if it is “free”, you may get more than you realized (e.g., spyware, adware, etc).
  • Back up your important data and mobile devices, and store the backups in a safe place.

Free software for UConn faculty, staff and students:

  • University owned computers: Most University owned computers with either have anti-virus pre-installed. If unsure contact InCHIP IT Support Center for assistance.
  • Faculty & Staff Personal Computers: Software for Windows and Mac
  • Students: Software for Windows and Mac

Email filtering:

UConn and InCHIP email benefits from Barracuda’s anti-malware filtering, which identifies and removes many harmful email messages. However, no filtering system can catch everything. Follow the guidance above, and always be cautious when opening attachments or clicking on links.