Virus & malware protection

The term malware is short for malicious software, and is a collective term that includes:

  • Viruses
  • Trojan horses
  • Worms
  • Rootkits
  • Keyloggers

Virus is sometimes used to refer to other malware types. For example, we often hear of "anti-virus" software. However, many anti-virus software packages detect other malware types as well.

It is important to protect your device from malware. Any infected device may be blocked from the network without prior notice to protect other users.

If you have any queries regarding virus and malware protection you should contact IT support at the Library and IT Help Desk:

Installing anti-virus software

If you have any questions or concerns about viruses or anti-virus software, either on a University owned machine or a personal device, please get in touch with IT Support:

Managed PCs

McAfee Endpoint Protection is installed and maintained on all IT Services managed office and classroom PCs.

Unmanaged PCs and personal devices

DeviceStaffStudents
Windows

Make sure that you have up to date anti-virus software installed on your Windows devices.

Staff can install McAfee Endpoint Protection on both University owned and personally owned Windows devices for free.

Your anti-virus software must have on-access scanning (sometimes referred to as "real time" protection) switched on. This automatically scans new files, running processes and memory for infections.

Most anti-virus applications have this switched on by default.

Make sure that you have up to date anti-virus software installed on your Windows devices.

Students can use Microsoft Security Essentials or Windows Defender for free:

Your anti-virus software must have on-access scanning (sometimes referred to as "real time" protection) switched on. This automatically scans new files, running processes and memory for infections.

Most anti-virus applications have this switched on by default.

Mac

OS X will actively try to prevent you from opening files that could potentially harm your Mac and so third party anti-virus software is not required:

However, staff can still install McAfee Endpoint Protection on personally owned Macs for free.

OS X will actively try to prevent you from opening files that could potentially harm your Mac and so third party anti-virus software is not required:

However, you can still install anti-virus software if you would like to.

Students can install Sophos Anti-virus for free.

Linux Anti-virus software is not required for Linux devices as these are far less prone to malware than Windows devices.

However, staff can still install McAfee Endpoint Protection on personally owned Linux devices for free.

Anti-virus software is not required for Linux devices as these are far less prone to malware than Windows devices.

Android

Google perform their own scans to ensure that the Play Store is kept free of malware.

You can protect your Android device by making sure that the option to install apps from unknown sources is disabled (this is the default on most Android devices).

The following instructions are based on the stock version of Android 5 Lollipop - other versions may differ slightly.

  1. Go to the App menu and select Settings
  2. Select Security
  3. Scroll down until you see Unknown Sources and make sure this is set to Off

The most common reason to enable this option is to install apps from alternative Android app stores. You can't be certain that these app stores check their apps thoroughly for malware, so for security reasons it should be disabled.

There are a number of anti-virus apps available for Android, but we do not recommend installing these.

iOS

Apple perform their own scans to ensure that the App Store is kept free of malware.

There are a number of anti-virus apps available for iOS but we do not recommend installing these.

Using a firewall

As well as up-to-date anti-virus software, you need to make sure that you have a firewall switched on. A firewall will help to protect you against hackers, some kinds of malware, and other malicious network traffic.

Managed PCs

All IT Services managed PCs have their firewall settings configured by IT Services so there is nothing more you need to do.

Unmanaged PCs owned by the University and Home PCs

If you have purchased an anti-virus package (eg McAfee Internet Security, Norton, Kaspersky) this may include a firewall for you to use.

If not, both Windows and Mac OS X come with a firewall pre-installed:

Remember to keep your machine's software up to date

As well as installing anti-virus software, it's important to keep your machine up to date with the latest software patches:

Configuring your plugins

A browser plugin (such as Adobe Flash and Java) is used to run additional content on a webpage, such as videos or web applications.

It is common for malware to infect a computer by taking advantage of security flaws in plugins. The first step to protect your device is to make sure you install the latest available software updates:

You should also uninstall any plugins that you don't need.

Click to play

For greater protection, we also recommend configuring your browsers to prevent plugins from running in your web browser automatically. This means that if you inadvertently visit a webpage that uses a plugin to distribute malware, you won't be infected unless you choose to run that plugin.

This is sometimes described as 'click to play' - as you have to click to activate the plugin manually. Before activating any plugins you should always assess whether you trust the webpage.

Some recent updates to web browsers enable this function by default, however you should check your plugin settings to ensure no plugin is being activated without your knowledge.

Internet Explorer

Microsoft provide their own guidance on managing your plugins:

Unfortunately it isn't currently possible to enable click to play functionality in Internet Explorer. However you can disable the plugins that you don't need.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla provide their own guidance on managing your plugins:

Mozilla also provide guidance on enabling click to play for Adobe Flash. The same steps can also be used to enable click to play for other plugins:

The latest versions of Firefox will also automatically block versions of plugins that are known to be vulnerable, prompting you to update them:

Google Chrome

To enable click to play in Google Chrome you need to ensure that the Let me choose when to run plug-in content option is selected in the Plugin settings.

Google provide their own guidance on managing your plugins:

Safari

By default, the latest versions of Safari will prompt you when you visit a webpage using a plugin.

Apple provide their own guidance on managing your plugins:

If your device is infected...

If you have any questions or concerns about malware, either on a University owned machine or a personal device, please get in touch with IT Support:

We continuously monitor the activity on our network for signs of malware. Any infected device may be blocked from the network without prior notice.

Managed PCs

If we detect that your managed PC contains malware we will attempt to take the steps necessary to remove the infection. You will be contacted if there are any further actions that you need to take.

You should contact IT Support if you suspect your managed PC is infected with malware:

Unmanaged devices owned by the University

If we detect that your University-owned, unmanaged device contains malware we will contact the Departmental Computing Officer (DCO) of your department and ask them to remove the infection. You will be contacted if there are any further actions you need to take.

You should contact your DCO if you suspect your unmanaged device is infected with malware:

Personal devices

Windows

If your Windows device is infected with malware, you should make sure that your anti-virus application is up to date and run a full scan. We have compiled a list of recommended anti-virus software:

If this fails to remove the infection you can also try running a scan using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware:

If you are encountering problems with adware (adverts and pop-ups appearing in your web browser that are not legitimate) this can often be resolved using AdwCleaner:

Mac OS X

If your Mac is infected with malware, you can make sure that your anti-virus application is up to date and run a full scan. We have compiled a list of recommended anti-virus software:

If this fails to remove the infection you can also try running a scan using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Mac.

This can also be effective if you are encountering problems with adware - adverts and pop-ups appearing in your web browser that are not legitimate:

Linux, Android & iOS

If your Linux, Android or iOS device is infected with malware, we recommend contacting IT Support for assistance.