There are many types of malware (short for malicious software) out in the world right now. This is a general term used to encompass a variety of invasive and potentially damaging program code that attack your computer in different ways.
Malware can get onto your computer through many different channels. A seemingly legitimate download file could arrive with malicious software either built in or packaged with it. Clicking on a suspicious web link can bring you to a webpage that runs programs or scripts on your computer. If a USB flash drive has something infected on it, there's a possibility it will move to your machine if you plug it in.
Common Types of Malware
- Trojan Horses
Common Anti-Malware Solutions
There is a plethora of different anti-virus software out on the market right now. Chances are that those of you reading this right now have an anti-virus program installed on your computer. If you don't, however, we highly recommend that you find one to install!
You may have heard of some of the big-name anti-virus software programs. Norton Anti-Virus and McAfee-Antivirus are two of the more well-known examples. Spysweeper and Kaspersky are also quite well-known, with each having its own key features. However, all of these are proprietary software, meaning that you must purchase the license in order to use it.
Sophos Anti-virus is yet another pay-to-use option. However, UCLA has a contract with Sophos that allows UCLA-affiliated staff and students to use it for free. You can go and download it here granted that you have a working Bruin OnLine account. The Biomathematics IT Office can also install it for staff upon request.
What if I don't want to pay?
Rest assured, there are some reputable and free anti-virus programs out there for you!
- Ad-Aware - a fast and efficient scanner of malware and spyware; the free version does not have an antivirus engine
- Avast! - installable program that scans for and guards against viruses and other malware
- AVG Free - provides antivirus and antimalware engines; there are also options for link and e-mail scanning
- Avira AntiVir - installable program that scans for and guards against viruses and other malware
- BitDefender Online Scanner - quick malware scanner that operates from within your web browser
- F-Secure Online Scanner - a virus and spyware scanner that works as a browser add-on
- Kaspersky Virus File Scanner - submit individual suspicious files (up to 1MB in size) for malware scanning
- Microsoft Security Essentials - easy and lightweight antivirus software from the makers of the Windows OS
- Norton Security Scan - a free virus scanner from the guys who make Norton AntiVirus
- Panda Security ActiveScan - virus and malware scanner that operates via web browser plugin
- Spybot Search & Destroy - powerful scanner for malware and spyware
- Trend Micro Housecall - on-demand scanner for viruses and other malware