Anti-Virus Software and GSC Online Courses
Viruses are a constant threat to computer users who use e-mail or access the Internet.
When you enroll in an Online Course, you are essentially entering an online community. As in any community, good citizens accept responsibilities.
It is your responsibility to ensure that the computer you are using is protected with current anti-virus software before you begin your online course. This helps ensure that your computer does not become infected and that you do not inadvertently send infected files to other computer users in the class.
All Granite State College computers and servers are equipped with anti-virus software. However the college does not currently license anti-virus software for faculty or learners.
Very Important: Granite State College strongly encourages all faculty and learners to install a current version of anti-virus protection software on their computers. If online learners are found to be inadvertently distributing infected files without taking proper precautions, faculty may refuse to accept infected files.
There are many suppliers of anti-virus software. The college is unable to recommend a particular anti-virus software program because it does not have the ability to test each product.
However, Granite State College Learners and Faculty may access the University of New Hampshire Computer Store that carries UNH approved anti-virus software. The computer store staff can also assist faculty and learners with installation. They can be reached at (603) 862-1328 or at http://computerstore.unh.edu/
You will also find anti-virus software programs available online, or at your local retail software supplier.
QUESTION: What are computer viruses?
ANSWER: A simple definition is "A program that modifies other programs by placing a copy of itself inside them." While simplified, this is sufficient to show the major difference between viruses and so called "Trojan" programs. Viruses replicate but Trojans do not.
A Trojan is a program that pretends to do something useful (or at least interesting) but when it is run, may have some harmful effect, like scrambling your FAT (File Allocation Table) or formatting the hard drive.
Viruses and Trojans may contain a "time-bomb" intended to destroy programs or data on a specific date or when some condition has been fulfilled.
There is no such thing as a harmless virus. Even if a virus has been intended to cause no damage, it may do so under certain circumstances, often due to the incompetence of the virus writer. A virus may be modified, either by the original author or someone else, so that a more harmful version of it appears.
The damage caused by a virus may consist of the deletion of data or programs, maybe even the reformatting of the hard drive. But, more subtle damage is possible. Some viruses may modify data or introduce typing errors into text. Other viruses may have no intentional effects other than just replicating.
- Has the text in your document been replaced with hieroglyphics?
- Does it take longer than usual to load programs?
- Do unusual error messages appear?
- Does there seem to be less memory available to your program than before?
- Do the disk drive lights stay on longer than they used to?
- Do files just disappear?
- Has the file size been modified since you last worked on the file?
- Anything like this may indicate a virus infection.
If your computer is infected with a virus, DON'T PANIC! A badly thought out attempt to remove a virus can do more damage than the virus could have done. If you are not sure what to do, leave your computer turned off until you find someone qualified to remove the virus for you.
Finally, remember that some viruses may interfere with the disinfection operation if they are active in memory at that time. This means that before you attempt to disinfect any virus, you must physically turn off the machine (don't use the "Control-Alt-Delete" keys on an IBM or compatible) and restart the machine from a clean, write-protected system diskette.
It's also a good idea to boot from a clean write-protected system diskette before scanning for viruses, as several "stealth" viruses are very difficult to detect if they are active in memory during virus scanning.
This information was adapted with permission from the University of New Hampshire Website at https://tps.unh.edu/software-services/campus-av