COMPUTER PROTECTION 101
Below are some very basic guidelines on keeping your computer protected online. This is not a definitive list, therefore you must be cautious online and use a lot of common sense.
NB – Viruses and spyware are a very serious threat. The spotty geek in his bedroom is a stereotype that died many years ago. These sophisticated programs are now ordered and manufactured for organised criminal gangs and it is big business. They want your computer’s power, your passwords, your money, and ultimately your identity.
OPERATING SYSTEM UPDATES
First easy win – Keep your computer protected by patching software security holes in your computer’s operating system.
If you have a Windows computer you should regularly be checking Windows Update
If you have an Apple Mac then regularly check Software Updates…
If you are running Linux then we expect you to know what you are doing and to keep your operating system and applications patched.
ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE – FOR FREE
Second easy win – All Oxford University members can install Sophos Anti-Virus for free. Sophos AV is a corporate / enterprise product which you can not buy from a high street shop.
We strongly recommend Sophos Anti-Virus software.
Only one anti-virus program must be installed at a time. If you already have Norton, AVG, McAfee, NOD32 etc then it MUST be un-installed and your computer rebooted BEFORE installing Sophos. Having two or more anti-virus programs on your computer will seriously degrade your computer’s performance.
Sophos changes its passwords for receiving virus updates every year. To keep receiving updates you must reinstall Sophos AV every year between October and November. If you do not reinstall then Sophos AV will expire and your computer will no longer be protected from virus and malware. However, we will send out email reminders when it is time to update.
We have found that you can install new versions of Sophos over existing Sophos installations on Microsoft Windows operating systems, however, Apple Mac OS X versions need to be uninstalled manually before new packages can be updated.
DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL SOPHOS
FREE Anti-Virus software called Sophos is available to all current Oxford University members – Learn more https://help.it.ox.ac.uk/sophos-faq
I HAD A VIRUS BUT MY ANTI-VIRUS GOT RID OF IT – AM I SAFE NOW?
Viruses are very sophisticated and no-one can offer a 100% guarantee that ALL viruses have been removed from a computer after an infection. In fact, your computer may be infected right now and your anti-virus software doesn’t even know.
Viruses get onto computers by various means – drive by infections from web sites, tricking the user into installing dodgy software or by exploiting security vulnerabilities in a program or operating system.
The only way to be sure that a computer is “clean” after an infection is to format the hard disk and re-install the system from recovery disks and backups. This is much quicker and easier than spending days trying to track down an infection.
If you take regular backups of your system and keep your data backed up in more than one place you should be able get your computer running again with a freshly installed system in a two or three hours. See our section on BACKUPS
So remember to bring your computer’s backup and recovery DVDs to College each term just in case. Windows 7 actually has built-in backup creation software. We strongly recommend that you create a set of backup DVDs of your current “clean” working system with all your software installed – this means you can recover your system in about an hour and then just copy your data back on after the recovery.
APPLE Mac OS X
How to uninstall Sophos AV that has out-of-date subscription credentials
- Look in Finder for Macintosh HD and then for :/Library/Sophos Anti-Virus/Remove Sophos Anti-Virus.pkg
- Double-click the Remove Sophos package and follow the onscreen instructions. NB – The removal software “looks like” you are installing files but it really is an un-installer.
- You can now download and re-install the latest version of Sophos Anti-Virus with the updated subscription credentials from here:
Sophos AV install problems – troubleshooting installation errors using MSI logs – https://www.sophos.com/support/knowledgebase/article/36097.html
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
Sophos AV FAQs – https://help.it.ox.ac.uk/sophos-faq
SPYWARE – REMOVAL SOFTWARE
There are a number of programs available which intercept, or detect and remove spyware. Some anti-virus software (like Sophos) also detect and remove spyware. Unfortunately, it is always a game of catch up and there is no single anti-spyware program available that detects and removes everything. However, we have found a few programs that have shown some good results recently in removing some of the nastier spyware.
MalwareBytes – https://www.malwarebytes.com
Microsoft Safety Scanner – https://www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/
Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool – Updated versions released each month as part of Windows Update, but you can also download a standalone version here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=9905
Below is a Wikipedia.org page that lists other programs available for removing spyware.
NB – Wikipedia.org is not necessarily a “trusted” source for your research and pages can be “vandalised” with incorrect information. Generally the moderators of the page will eventually fix entries so please bear this in mind. Please only use Wikipedia.org as a starting point.
FAKING IT – FAKE ANTI-VIRUS AND ANTI-SPYWARE SOFTWARE
Also known as ROGUE SECURITY SOFTWARE Unfortunately, there is a huge market in fake security programs. These are programs that lie, cheat and blackmail you into paying for spyware and virus removal. Once you install one of these products the software then represses your legitimate security software and settings and then starts sending information about you and your computer back to the criminals that wrote the program. This is really nasty stuff – do not mess around with it.
Below is a link to a Wikipedia.org page that lists an incomplete list of evil, nasty, DO NOT INSTALL security software.
NB – Wikipedia.org is not necessarily a “trusted” source for your research and pages can be “vandalised” with incorrect information. Generally the moderators of the page will eventually fix entries so please bear this in mind. Please only use Wikipedia.org as a starting point for your research.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!