Girl looking up information on computer.

Is My Computer Infected?

Many faculty, staff and students have become concerned about the threat of viruses and spyware. This page can help protect you from these threats.

Know What Spyware and Viruses Are:

A computer virus is a malicious software program that spreads from one computer to another and can affect computer performance in a variety of ways. Viruses are often distributed through email, an instant message program, or even by going to certain Web pages and clicking on links. Viruses can corrupt and delete data on a computer, sometimes even deleting everything on the computer's hard drive.

Spyware is software that can install itself or run on your computer, often without your awareness of it. Your computer will not always show signs of spyware infection, so it's best to periodically check your computer for spyware by using programs like Malware Bytes or Combo Fix.

How Does My Computer Become Infected?

  • Peer-to-peer software programs - Peer-to-peer software often has spyware included in its installation packages. Examples of peer-to-peer programs include:
    • KaZaa
    • Limewire
    • Morpheus
    • BitTorrent
  • Masquerading Utility software - Spyware and viruses can also be disguised in utility software. Examples of these are:
    • Web accelerators
    • Security software
    • Rogue anti-spyware program
  • Pop-ups or email attachments - Spyware and viruses can be found in email attachments or in a pop-up that appears while you are browsing on the Internet.

How Can I Tell if My Computer is Infected?

Some typical symptoms of virus and spyware infections are:

  • Pop-ups
  • Overall computer slowness
  • Desktop backgrounds randomly changing
  • Programs being installed on the desktop without your knowledge
  • Error messages popping up with misspelled words or poor grammar
  • Messages popping up informing you that your computer is infected
  • Messages popping up asking for you to purchase a rogue anti-virus program

What Can I do if My Computer is Infected?

Self Help

Instructions for removing spyware and viruses from your computer.

Download Your Antivirus Software

View information on downloading free antivirus software here.

Safe Computing Info

View additional info on safe computing on our Be Safe site.


Data backup/Recovery and Restore.