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Viruses & Malware

Viruses and malware is software designed to gain access to your computer.  There are many forms including spyware that records your activity and sends to a hacker; viruses that damage and delete your files; and ransomware that locks your computer and files until you pay money (usually in the form of bitcoins) to recover the system—if you’re lucky.

New viruses and other malware are released daily.  Hackers continue to find new ways to infect your electronics every day so it is important to guard against attacks.

Best Practices

  • Keep all software and apps up-to-date
  • Think before you click a link or open an attachment.  Malicious emails or links often come from people you don’t know, but also from people you do.
  • Only download software from legitimate sources (NOT from peer-to-peer [P2P] services or torrents)
  • Don’t click on links in pop-up ads or ads on unsecure websites
  • Check permissions to see what information software or an app may collect about you because you can get some malware from apps and other software

How Infections Happen

Viruses and other malware are designed to go unnoticed and spread quickly.  Knowing what to look for will help protect you. 

These are signs that an email or website shouldn’t be trusted.  Look for:

  • Short messages that give little context as to why someone is contacting you or what they are sending to you (e.g., “Check out my new pics!” or “Are you available?”)
  • Unusual URLs and domain names (e.g., “” or “” instead of “”)
  • Unexpected attachments, or attachments with unusual file types (e.g., .exe, .vbs, or .lnk)
  • Strange notifications that don’t look like the normal messages you see from an app or program
  • Apps that require excessive access to your device.  For example, a flashlight app should not need access to your camera or text message or address book.
  • When in doubt, never click or open anything you think is unusual.  If you aren’t sure if something is a real message, contact the person by some other method or forward them to EKU IT at

Signs of virus and malware infections

In general, unusual graphics, alerts, or computer behavior might indicate a virus or malware has taken over your computer.

Symptoms can include some or all of these:

  • System crashes
  • Slowness
  • Longer-than-normal program startup
  • Unpredictable program behavior (such as being taken to a website you didn’t want to go to)
  • Finding new search bars or toolbars in your browser
  • Finding new software you don’t remember installing
  • Excessive hard drive activity
  • Unusual graphics or dialog boxes appearing unexpectedly
  • Unusual sounds
  • Unexpected antivirus disabling

If you get infected

For EKU-owned computers:

  • Disconnect the computer from the internet by disabling the Wi-Fi and/or unplugging the network cable
  • Contact the IT Service Desk at 1-859-622-3000

For student-owned computers:

  • Contact the IT Geeks on the 2nd floor of Roark for assistance.  If you leave your computer with us a few days we can clean viruses and malware.  1-859-622-GEEK (4335)

External Links

Computer Viruses and Malware Facts & FAQs  

5 Ways You Didn’t Know you could get a Virus, Malware, or your Social Account Hacked  

Do Macs get Viruses and Malware  

What is malware?  



Contact Information

IT Service Desk