While we all want to believe we will not download malware or fall victim to a phishing scam, we are human and bound to make mistakes. Security software is a general term for any software that protects your device or network against malware. It catches any problems and ensures your system runs safely and securely.
Antivirus software seeks out and destroys viruses. Computer viruses are bits of code loaded onto a computer without the user knowing or wanting it there. This software has become more and more complex over the years to hunt down, fix or quarantine all the different types of viruses.
A firewall controls incoming and outgoing internet traffic and blocks suspicious data that does not meet security rules. Firewalls are one of the oldest types of cybersecurity software out there.
Spyware secretly records what you do on your computer and sends that information back to the hacker. Its goal is to capture passwords, bank account numbers and other sensitive data. Individuals often install spyware accidentally when trying to install other free software.
Malware, short for malicious software, is a blanket term for harmful computer programs. Anti-malware software scans a system for malicious software and removes threats that antivirus software leaves behind.
It is common to find a combination of the above security software in one product. These security suites allow you to install a single, all-in-one solution that hunts viruses, malware, spyware and more to keep your device protected and operating optimally.
Computer Protection & Threat Response
This robust defense suite protects FSU-owned computers against malware, ransomware and cryptoware. This service is required for all FSU-owned desktops and laptops and works in tandem with existing systems to provide the most advanced protection available.
If your computer starts acting sluggish and taking longer than usual to open apps, there may be something running in the background and impacting performance. You also may hear your device’s fan whirring on overdrive, indicating your hard drive is overworked.
Do programs frequently crash on your computer? Or worse, does the entire device unexpectedly shut down or give you the blue screen of death? This is not normal behavior and a possible indicator of malware.
A common tactic of malware is to disable your antivirus software, leaving you unprotected. If you notice your antivirus software has been turned off and you are unable to turn it back on, you will want to investigate the issue.
Unexpected Pop-Up Windows
If pop-up windows start, well, popping up, frequently on your computer, that is a typical sign of malware. Pop ups may look like ads or possibly even warnings from your own antivirus software. Either way, avoid clicking them.
Any sort of unusual behavior, whether it is your web browser redirecting to other sites or files suddenly missing from your device, is a potential sign of malware taking over your device.
Install reputable software that you obtained from the official site of the vendor
Steer clear of free security scans and software you find on the web
Only install the software you need and uncheck boxes to install additional software embedded in the software installation
Keep your antivirus software and operating system up to date
Set your software to run regularly scheduled scans
What to Do
If your device becomes infected with malware at FSU:
- Contact the ITS Service Desk at 850-644-4357 or its.fsu.edu/help.
If your device becomes infected with malware at home:
- Disconnect from your Wi-Fi network
- Scan your device using trusted security software
- If your security software cannot return your system to a pre-malware state, you may need to do a factory reset and reinstall your operating system
- Use your cloud or external backup to reinstall any missing files
- Consider setting up fraud alerts and watching for fraudulent activity on your credit reports and bank statements