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Computer Viruses, Worms und Trojans

What is a virus?

Computer viruses, worms and trojans have become a serious threat in the internet. The fact that the internet provides acces to an increasing number of online shops and services (bank transfers, web shops, etc.) makes it all the more important to protect your computer from malicious manipulation and attacks.

The actual generic term for these hazards (viruses, worms, trojans, spyware) is here in more detail: Malware. In laymen's terms the most commonly used term is virus.

  • Similar to biological viruses, computer viruses get into computers and increase in numbers so they can infect one or more programs and data files.
  • Worms are not dependent on starting a program such as Word or Excel. They attack your computer's operation system that run in the background or automatically start and exploit the system.
  • The Trojan Horse feigns having a purpose, however in reality it completes unwanted tasks in the background (for example, sending spam, etc.)
  • Spyware just does that; spys on the user: keyboard entries (i.e. passwords, credit card numbers, etc.), browser activity, e-mail correspondence and data stored on the hard drive are monitored and made accessible to a third party.

How does one get a computer virus?

  • Any file downloaded from the internet can contain malware! This includes all kinds of downloads (for example, Word, Power Point, PDF files, etc.) even if they are shown in your browser window. Infected files are frequently shared through peer to peer programs on computers.
  • It is highly recommended to regularly scan your e-mail program using an e-mail scanner and when viewing your e-mail, turn off the "preview" command. The virus can be started in the "preview" mode so please check your incoming messages for viruses!
  • When using writable data storage media such as CD-RWs, discs or flash drives, you should always conduct a manual virus scan to be on the safe side!

Protection against possible damage

The damages can range from small activities on your computer screen to the complete deletion of your data files. As virus and worms are frequently transmitted via e-mail, the central SMTP Relay Server at the department of Network and Telephone Services is equipped with a virus scanner.

Over the past few years, we have discovered that viruses, Trojans in particular, tend to infiltrate computers when users access certain websites. For this reason the proxy server at the JKU Linz is also protected by a comprehensive virus and spyware protection program as well as an intrusion prevention gateway.

Therefore if you have a Windows PC system, it is essential to install a Anti Virus Program and a Firewall locally on your computer, update it regularly and ensure it is operationing properly. Windows Updates is also especially important to close security gaps in your operating system. We also highly recommend that you regularly back up your data to either an external hard drive, CD rom, etc. (create back up copies).

Students can obtain anti-virus programs free of charge via the various manufacturers in InterNet. University employees can download the McAffee VirusScan program free of charge (the download is available on the software server).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at: secadmin@jku.at