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Virus Protection Policy

Virus Protection Policy

It is the responsibility of everyone who uses the University computer network to take reasonable measures to protect it from virus threats. The Office of Information Technology tries to prevent and/or minimize threats, and how University network users should respond if a threat occurs.

How Viruses Can Infect the University Network

Computer viruses actually hide themselves within other files. When an infected file is opened from a computer connected to the University network, the virus can spread throughout the network and may do damage.

Viruses Can Enter the University Network in a Variety of Ways

  • E-mail — Most viruses are sent as e-mail attachments. These attachments could be working documents or spreadsheets, or they could be merely viruses disguised as pictures, jokes, etc. These attachments may have been knowingly sent by someone wanting to infect the University network or by someone who does not know the attachment contains a virus. However, once some viruses are opened, they automatically e-mail themselves, and the sender may not know his or her computer has been infected.
  • Media — Viruses can also spread via various types of storage media. As with e-mail attachments, the virus could hide within a legitimate document or spreadsheet or simply be disguised as another type of file.
  • Internet — Downloading software via the Internet can also be a source of infection. As with other types of transmissions, the virus could hide within a legitimate document, spreadsheet, or other type of file.
  • Instant Messaging — Although less common than e-mail attachments, more viruses are taking advantage of instant messaging software. These attachments work the same as e-mail viruses, but they are transmitted via instant messaging software.

How the Office of Information Technology Prevents and/or Minimizes Virus Threats

  • Internet Traffic —Internet traffic entering and leaving the University network must pass through network devices that allow only specific types of network traffic beyond the organization's exterior firewalls.
  • Anti-virus Software — University servers, workstations, and notebook computers run Anti-Virus software which scan file-sharing data stores, looking for suspicious code.  If it finds something suspicious, it isolates the dubious file on the computer and automatically notifies the Office of Information Technology.  Anti-virus definition files allow the software to detect new viruses. If a new virus definition file is available, the virus scanning software is automatically updated.
  • Wireless — All users registered with the University wireless network are required to run current Anti-Virus software along with the most recent anti-virus definitions.

If a Virus has Been Detected

The possibility still exists that a new or well-hidden virus could infect a computer, and if not properly handled, it could infect the University network.  The Office of Information Technology will notify users of virus threats.

It is the responsibility of all University network users to take reasonable steps to prevent virus outbreaks.

  • Do not open unexpected e-mail attachments, even from co-workers.
  • Never open an e-mail or instant messaging attachment from an unknown or suspicious source.
  • Scan freeware or shareware before downloading from the Internet.
  • If a file you receive contains macros that you are unsure about, disable and/or delete the macro.

Helpdesk

If a suspicious file or e-mail attachment is received, do not open it. Open a ticket with Helpdesk providing details regarding the virus. After the support analyst has neutralized the virus the analyst will contact the originator notifying them that their file or email included a virus.

If the infected file is of critical importance to the University, the Office of Information Technology will attempt to scan and clean the file. However, the Office of Information Technology does no guarantees as to whether the infected file can be cleaned and will be allowed to be used on University computers.