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I’m a liar-bility, get me out of here!

21 Nov 2013

mal.ware [mal-wair]

noun: Software intended to damage a computer, mobile device, computer system, or computer network, or to take partial control over its operation.

Origin: Mal(icious) + -ware

Sound scary? That’s because it is.

Malware attacks can happen anywhere – not just on your computer and devices here at the University, but also on your personal equipment at home, so it’s important to think of these questions each and every time you access electronic content:

  • Do I truly know who sent this and what it is? Is the email address genuine?

Don't click on any links or open any attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it is. Clicking on links and opening attachments – even in emails that seem to be from friends or family – can install malware on your computer.

Emails that appear to be from genuine companies can often be verified on the company’s website (for example, HMRC have a page dedicated to this very subject:

  • Do I know and trust this link?

Follow links to only those websites that you know and trust. Downloading free games, file-sharing programs, and customized toolbars may sound appealing, but free software can come with malware. Beware of following links to competitions or free giveaways unless again, it’s from a wholly trusted source. If you are uncertain, a quick Google search can often help you identify legitimate sources of information and also inform you of the latest scams to be aware of.

If you think you have received an email that may be malware, simply delete it and then delete it again form your deleted items folder.

If you suspect that your University computer has been infected with malware you should contact the IT Service Desk for advice immediately. Some common indications could include:

  • It starts to run slower or freeze
  • It won’t shut down or re-start
  • Laptop battery drains more quickly
  • New pop-up messages repeatedly appear
  • Emails are sent that you did not write
  • Webpages display that you did not visit