Anti-Virus Requirements and Solutions Skip Navigation

Antivirus, Updates & Patches

A significant amount of malware, spyware, viruses and exploits can be prevented just by performing a little maintenance. Here is what you can do to keep your system(s) secure.

Use Updated Antivirus Software

Despite what you may have heard, all computers, including Macs and smart phones, are susceptible to viruses and malware. As such, Colgate requires that any computer connecting to our network have up-to-date antivirus software installed.
Where can I find antivirus software?
Antivirus software comes in many flavors and forms. Whatever solution you choose, you should become familiar with how it works and what your particular antivirus software's pop-up warnings (if any) look like. The following vendors supply free antivirus for students and home use:
  1. Microsoft Security Essentials
  2. Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition
  3. Clam AntiVirus (Open Source for Linux, BSD, and others)
  4. avast! Avast Free Antivirus
  5. AVG Free Antivirus
There are also many paid versions of antivirus software including Kaspersky, McAfee & Symantec.

You may also wish to run adware or anti-spyware software on your computer. A couple of popular choices are:

  1. Lavasoft's AdAware
  2. Spybot Search & Destroy
Does antivirus slow down my computer?
It is rumored that all antivirus packages degrade the performance of a computer system. Some packages, when configured improperly, indeed can slow performance. Here are some tips to help you configure your antivirus software correctly and keep your machine running at its peak:
  1. Never run more than one antivirus package on your computer at the same time.
  2. Configure your antivirus to run a full scan of your hard drive on odd hours when you are not using your computer.
  3. Colgate runs antivirus on its servers so you do not need to configure your antivirus to scan your network shares.
  4. If you use VMWare, VirtualBox, or another VM product, configure "on-access" scanning to avoid directories which store your virtual hard disk.
  5. If you are a heavy user of graphic, movie, or audio editing software, configure your "on-access" scanning to avoid directories where your projects are stored.
One last thing about antivirus: Always keep your antivirus software up to date!
Think you may already have a virus?
Antivirus software is not full-proof. While it is uncommon to get infected using a computer with the latest patches, updates and signatures, it could still happen. In cases like that, you may need to inoculate your computer. Below are several tools you can use to scan your system for the existence of malware and spyware:
  1. Sophos
  2. McAfee Stinger
  3. Microsoft
  4. Apple (Flashback)
  5. Spybot

Check for and Apply Updates & Security Patches

Most modern operating systems come with a method to automatically update your system's software. It is important to turn these automatic updates on so that your computer can run at peak performance and be hardened against exploits that hackers use to gain access to your computer.
List of Update Sites
  1. Apple Mac OS X
  2. Apple iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch
  3. Microsoft Windows
  4. Android (on Samsung)
  5. Ubuntu Linux
At the very least, your operating system should be configured to down the latest security patches as soon as they are available!

Make Sure Your Browser is Up-to-Date

Well over half of the time spent using a computer is through the browser. The browser (Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc.) is the primary way we access information on the Internet. Many of us use the browser for more than browsing Web pages, the browser has become the number one way to access our e-mail as well. The browser; therefore, is perhaps the most important piece of software on our computers - its security is pertinent to staying safe on the Internet. While most browsers update themselves, you may wish to manually download and install the latest version yourself.
Get the latest browser(s)
  1. Google Chrome
  2. Internet Explorer
  3. Mozilla Firefox
  4. Opera
  5. Apple Safari
Additionally, you should always keep your browser's plug-ins (like Java & Flash) up-to-date. See the next section for more information!

Keep Your Apps and Plug-ins Updated

The last piece we'll discuss here is the need to keep your plug-ins and applications (apps) up-to-date. On the computer, in your browser, you may have software installed that enhances websites allowing them to show audio, video and be interactive. These pieces of software are called plug-ins. It is important that you keep these plug-ins up-to-date. By far, the two most-popular plug-ins are Oracle's Java and Adobe's Flash. On your personal computers, you should always keep these plug-ins up-to-date or disabled if you do not use them.

Additionally, you should always go directly to their web site to download the latest versions of their software and never click OK on a pop-up that asks you to upgrade them! As always, if you have any questions, please contact the help desk!

Applications and apps should also be kept up-to-date. Office suites like Microsoft Office have been known to introduce backdoors and exploits on PCs in the past. Many Android apps have also introduced malware on smartphones directing information away from unsuspecting users and into the hands of hackers. You should always check that your software is up-to-date. This is usually done by using the built-in update mechanisms in your operating system or smartphone as shown in the section above.