Virus Information

ResNet's Terms and Conditions require customers to use up-to-date anti-virus software on any computer running Windows or Mac OS.

What are viruses, worms and Trojan Horses?

A virus is a program that replicates itself, usually by attaching itself to other files and programs. A worm is a program that does not infect other programs but makes copies of itself. Trojan horse programs do not replicate nor make copies of themselves, but rely on other "manual" methods of distribution. We use the term "viruses" on this page to cover all forms of infections.

Viruses are spread in a variety of ways. Some Examples:

  • email attachments (such as Klez, Badtrans, MyParty)
  • instant messaging links and attachments (such as Aplore)
  • compromised web servers (such as Nimda)
  • Usenet news groups
  • Inernet Relay Chat channels
  • floppy diskettes
  • file downloads (many backdoor Trojans are embedded with other files)

All viruses are different. Some activate on a certain day, but remain dormant until then. Others begin the attack as soon as the machine has been infected. Viruses can be very damaging and some are just annoying.

How do I protect myself from viruses?

A good way to protect yourself is to have a virus protection program and keep it up-to-date. Before running a download from an unknown site, or opening an email attachment, always be sure to scan it to ensure that it is not infected. If you do not know the source of a file do not open it. Even if you know the person who sent you a file, if you were not expecting it you may want to contact them before opening it. This is because many viruses automatically send themselves out to addresses it finds in files on the infected computer.

What if I already have a virus?

If you already have a virus, you need to use anti-virus software to remove them. Click here for detailed instructions on how to remove viruses from your computer.

What is an anti-virus program?

An anti-virus program is designed to protect your computer from possible virus infections. Most viruses are designed to operate in the background in a way that the user will not notice. Virus protection programs search for, detect, and attempt to remove these viruses. Anti-virus programs must be kept up-to-date in order for them to provide adequate protection. New viruses are being created every day and your anti-virus program can't always predict what they will be able to do or how they will work.

Where do I find a virus protection program?

"NC State has negotiated a site license for Trend Micro Office Scan and Intego VirusBarrier. Under the agreement, all NC State faculty, staff and students can use Trend Micro Office Scan and Intego VirusBarrier software, free of charge, on their campus and home computers." For more information and to download Trend Micro Office Scan or Intego VirusBarrier, visit NC State's AntiVirus site.

Do I have to use Trend Micro Office Scan or Intego VirusBarrier if I already have anti-virus software installed?

According to the Terms and Conditions, "ResNet customers using Windows or Macintosh operating systems are required to use regularly updated anti-virus software on their computer(s)." If you have anti-virus software already, make certain that it is regularly updated, or consider replacing it with Trend Micro Office Scan (Windows) or Intego VirusBarrier (Macintosh). Our managed version will update its virus definitions automatically. If you do choose to replace your anti-virus software with Trend Micro Office Scan or Intego VirusBarrier, please uninstall your previous program before installing Trend Micro Office Scan or Intego VirusBarrier.

What if I'm running Linux, or another operating besides Windows or Macintosh?

Due to the nature of the operating system, Linux, and other UNIX-like operating systems are not as susceptable to viruses. Thus an anti-virus program is not necessary. However, system security is still very important. If you run Linux, please look at our Tips for Security. If you are running an unprotected operating system for which Trend Micro Office Scan or Intego VirusBarrier is unavailable, such as OS/2 or DOS (we can't imagine why), you may want to consider an upgrade, or you should find some virus protection you can use with your system.

What else should I be doing to keep my computer more secure?

The simplest thing you can do to keep your computer secure is to never run programs you don't know about or don't need. Most viruses come in email attachments or in files downloaded from unknown or unreliable sources. By avoiding these types of files altogether, you can significantly reduce the chances of getting a virus. Even well known programs can cause problems though. Many file sharing applications can install spyware on your system to report information back to another source or provide other methods of accessing or obtaining information from your system. Avoid running programs you don't need to prevent unwanted access to your computer.

Keeping your system up to date is also crucial to system security. Security problems are often found in operating systems and patches are released to correct them. If you run Windows, visit frequently to downloaded the latest security patches for your computer. Mac OS also includes a Software Updates feature and has security updates available at Details for updating each supported operating system are also available.


To get the latest anti-virus news and information, please visit:

Symantec Anti-Virus & Security Response Information
Network Associates AVERT Research Center
Computer Associates Virus Information Center
Trend Micro Security Alerts