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Malware

What is Malware?

Short for "malicious software," malware infects computers, phones and tablets. Malware can infect computers by email, infected devices (e.g., USB flash drives, etc.), and, most frequently, by visiting websites that host malware.

When visiting malicious sites, you don’t have to click on a link or download something to infect your machine. With “drive-by malware,” your browser does all the work for the criminals when you view the page.

Malware can infect computers, phones and tablets using any operating system including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, etc. Windows and Mac computers are equally vulnerable to malware attacks.


What Does Malware Do?

Some examples of what modern Malware can do include:

  • Record all your keystrokes
  • Capture the contents of your screen
  • Modify your network settings
  • Make itself nearly impossible to remove
  • Encrypt your important files and demand a ransom to decrypt them

Types of Malware

There are many types of malware. Here are a few of the common types of malware:

Adware – Malicious software packaged with advertisements on websites. Often paired with spyware that monitors activity and steals information.

Ransomware – Malicious software that demands payment to remove malware and return access back to the computer owner.

Rootkit – Malicious software that allows remote access and control of a computer or device, allowing attackers to make significant modifications, including to security software.

Spyware – Malicious software that monitors activity and steals information.

Trojan Horse – Malicious software disguised as legitimate files or programs.

Virus – Malicious software capable of copying itself and spreading to other computers.

Worm – Self-replicating malicious software that spreads over computer networks through system vulnerabilities.

Source: https://www.veracode.com/blog/2012/10/common-malware-types-cybersecurity-101


Additional Resources

If You Think Your KU Workstation Has Been Infected with Malware

Don't wait! Immediately contact your IT Support Staff or the IT Customer Service Center at itcsc@ku.edu or 785-864-8080.


Avoiding Malware on KU Workstations

Keeping your KU workstation free and clear of viruses and malware (e.g., spyware, ransomware, adware, scareware) helps to secure your personal information and KU data.

  • Sophos Antivirus is installed automatically on all KU workstations, including Macs. If you have questions about Sophos Antivirus on your workstation, contact your IT Support Staff.
  • Don't disable or remove Sophos Antivirus from KU workstations
  • Reboot your workstation daily to ensure the latest patches and updates are taking effect.
  • Your computer's firewall should already be on.
  • Don't open unsolicited email attachments
  • Think twice before clicking on links in emails. Verify the destination of links by hovering over the link and looking at the URL in the pop-up.
  • Heed warnings from Sophos or your browser about known bad sites or suspicious security certificates
  • Back up any data stored on local machines regularly.
  • Remember, legitimate organizations, including KU, will never ask you to provide sensitive personal information (password, Social Security Number, etc.) in an email or in an unsolicited phone call.

Avoiding Malware

Keeping your computer and other connected devices free and clear of viruses, spyware and adware helps to secure your personal information and privacy.

  • Use antivirus/anti-malware software, such as Sophos Home »
  • Set your computer to update and patch automatically.
  • Reboot your computer daily to ensure the latest patches and updates take effect.
  • Turn on your computer's firewall.
  • Don't open unsolicited email attachments.
  • Think twice before clicking on links in emails. Verify the destination of links by hovering over the link and looking at the URL in the pop-up.
  • Heed warnings from your antivirus software and browsers about known bad sites and suspicious security certificates.
  • Back up your data regularly.
  • Remember, legitimate organizations, including KU, will never ask you to provide sensitive personal information (password, Social Security Number, etc.) in an email or in an unsolicited phone call.

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