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Know the Risks

When you connect your computer to any shared internet service without taking certain precautions, your system is exposed to risks, such as viruses and data loss or corruption. The loss or corruption of computer data can cause anything from minor frustration to major disaster.

Computer Infections

Viruses are small files that attach themselves to other files or programs. Typically, they are spread when infected files or e-mail attachments are downloaded. Many viruses do not pose a serious threat to your computer, however some can cause major destruction of your data or send copies of themselves to all of your e-mail contacts - without your knowledge.

Trojan horses, also known as Trojans, are often transmitted in the same way as viruses. However, Trojans such as NetBus and Back Orifice can be far more damaging than viruses. If your system is infected with a Trojan, someone else can take control of your computer and use it to break into other systems, which could be traced back to your computer. Remember that you are responsible for all network traffic originating from your computer.

Spyware is a type of malware that is installed on computers and collects little bits of information at a time about users without their knowledge. The presence of spyware is typically hidden from the user, and can be difficult to detect.

The best way to avoid getting your computer infected is to install an Antivirus program. For both Mac and PC users, Trend-Micro Antivirus is available at the Campus Tech Hub for a discounted student price. For those looking for a free solution, AVG Antivirus for PC is available for download here: as well as Avast Antivirus for Mac users available here: .

Antivirus programs are essential, but will not guarantee protection against computer threats. Be cautious about what you download and which websites you visit to avoid these risks.

Email Security

Email spam is often harmless, but some spammers disguise messages to look like legitimate emails in order to compromise your computer system and gain access to your personal information. If you are unsure about an email you've received, you can find helpful tips and resources from Western's CyberSmart department. You should never download attachments from unfamiliar sources, click on an inserted link, or send passwords over email.

Remember that Connect-IT, WTS, and Western, as well as most organizations will never ask for account numbers, passwords, or other sensitive data over email.


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