Computer viruses and hoaxes


Computer viruses remain a potential problem within the University. Users with a University IT account are protected against all known viruses but only if they restart their computer at regular intervals so that virus signatures and system patches can be applied. Everyone else needs to ensure that their computers have virus protection software loaded and that this is regularly updated. Many viruses are distributed as attachments so these should never be opened unless you are sure who they are from. Viruses often 'spoof' the address of a sender from the same site or of an acquaintance, so even if you recognise the address you should not open the attachment unless the text makes it clear that it is legitimate. Attachments should never be opened whilst logged on with administrator privileges.

Although less serious, virus hoaxes waste a considerable amount of time and bandwidth and all users should avoid propagating these. Before passing on any virus warning, please check to make sure that you are not wasting everybody's time with a hoax message. IT Services has a section of their web site devoted to viruses. More information is available from Sophos on current virus and hoax problems.

Sophos anti-virus software is freely available for use on all University computers. Additional anti-virus software should not be installed on these computers. If you get a pop-up window offering to scan your hard drive or suggesting that your computer is already infected, do not click SCAN. Doing so will download malware (harmful software) to your computer, causing a variety of problems.

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Department of Biology

University of Leicester

Adrian Building
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