To ensure that your laptop is in proper working condition for classes, labs, tests, etc. it is strongly recommended that you follow the safe computing practices highlighted on this page. The practices listed below will help reduce the chances that your laptop will be infected with malware. It is also important to note that these practices are important to follow at all times and not just before an exam. If you suspect that your machine is infected and require assistance you may speak with CEC staff.
Note: If you bring an infected laptop to an e-exam you may be required to address the problem before you are permitted to start the exam.
UConn Health IT Policies
Please be aware that the UConn Health IT department has policies in place to protect the UConn Health network, students, employees, faculty, and staff. These policies must be adhered to while on the UConn Health network as well as while using UConn Health owned equipment. This information can be found on the UConn Health IT Policies web page.
Backup Files Regularly
When working with technology you can experience hardware failures such as a failed hard drive. Also, there are instances in which malware can cause Windows to not boot. Therefore it is good practice to back up your files regularly so as to minimize the number of files you lose in the event of a hardware failure or bad malware infection.
File Backup Information
What Is Malware?
Malware is short for malicious software. Malware is often used as an all-inclusive term to refer to viruses, spyware, adware, rootkits, trojan horses, etc. The intent of malware is to perform damaging and/or annoying actions on a computer system without permission. Examples include deleting files, changing settings, stealing personal information, displaying popup messages, and other malicious acts.
Signs of Malware Infection
The list of symptoms below may indicate the possibility of a malware infection.
- Anti-malware software will not run
- Antivirus software is disabled
- Browser home page change (although some reputable programs ask you to do this as well)
- Computer Settings change (without your involvement)
- Desktop wallpaper changed (without your involvement)
- Fake antivirus programs
- Firewall is disabled
- Missing files and/or programs
- Pop-up windows/messages appear for no reason
- Programs you don’t remember installing appear on your computer
- Re-direction of websites
- Task manager is disabled
The following is a list of good practices in preventing malware infection.
- Avoid opening email from people you don’t know
- Avoid using Peer-To-Peer (P2P) software for illegal purposes (often abused P2P software includes BitTorrent, LimeWire, and Shareaza)
- Avoid visiting websites that illegally broadcast TV shows, movies, etc. (does not include FOX, NBC, ABC, Hulu, and other reputable websites)
- Avoid visiting websites that illegally distribute copyrighted material such as software, music, movies, and TV shows
- Be extremely careful on social networking sites (such as Facebook) and “gossip” websites as these sites are often targeted by malware creators.
Avoid clicking on links from people you do not know.
Avoid clicking on suspicious links.
- Keep anti-malware software updated
- Scan your computer regularly with anti-malware software
- Use a firewall (Windows Firewall comes with Windows XP Service Pack 2 and later)
Below is a list of recommended anti-malware prevention, detection, and cleaning applications.
- Backup data regularly (Please see our File Backup Information web page for more information)
- Use anti-malware software regularly (please see the list of software above)
- Follow the tips in the prevention section of this page
What to Do If Infected
- Ensure you have a recent backup of your files
- Clean-up with anti-malware software
- Don’t enter credit card information, passwords, email addresses, etc. into fake antivirus programs. Symantec AntiVirus is pre-installed on all student laptops. Symantec AntiVirus and the anti-malware software listed on this page are reputable anti-malware programs. If you have entered credit card information, passwords, email addresses, etc. into a fake antivirus program, alert your credit card company, bank, etc.)
- Don’t make any online purchases until you clean up your computer
- Don’t do any online banking until you clean up your computer
- If you can’t clean up your laptop, CEC staff can re-image your laptop for you