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Technologically transmitted diseases

How to protect yourself from computer viruses

By Jill Harden
On February 7, 2012

It is the third week into the new semester, and my worst fear as a college student has been realized, a computer virus. It is next to the equivalent of catching pink eye from your roommate's pillow or that pesky rash you got after Halloween night. No one wants it, and we all want to prevent it. Lucky for you, UW-L is staffed with some of the best I.T. workers who are ready and able to help. Our technical support staff, located in 103 Wing, is capable of protecting and repairing both PC and Macintosh computers, along with giving general advice on how to prepare themselves for online viruses and fake e-mails.

It is highly recommended that all students pay a visit to the I.T. support staff to have an anti-virus installed onto their computers. This will significantly decrease the chances of a virus reaching your computer and deleting that 20-page research paper you have due tomorrow. And if the unfortunate occurs, the I.T. staff is most likely able to debug your computer of both major and minor viruses.

Now that students all know not to panic when a virus hits, why don't they try to make it easier on the I.T. staff by educating themselves on what they would deem to be common knowledge. Just as we were taught not to get into the van with that strange man handing out candy, we do not give out your personal information on unknown websites.

Always use caution when surfing the web, and remember that if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Before opening an e-mail, always check who the sender is and from what address it is coming from. You should be in the clear if the sender is using a UW-L e-mail account, ending in "," but double check that you know who the sender is before opening an e-mail coming from a Hotmail, Gmail, or other similar account. Although students may think their student e-mail account is immune to any "stranger danger," the UW-L online directory allows anyone to access your e-mail address and use it to his or her own benefit.

 I can almost hear the tired whispers asking, why would anyone put so much effort into sending me, just another other random student, a fake e-mail containing a virus? The answer, as Karl Marx would suggest, comes down to money. When students open the links provided in the e-mails, it brings them to the source of the virus and earns the perpetrator money by selling just enough spam to continue the viral train. So use your head, people. And for the one time it is acceptable to avoid the Trojan to stay safe.


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