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  Computer Security FAQ

  General Practice of Virus Prevention
  How do I keep my computer virus-free?
  How can I update the Virus Definitions file for the anti-virus software?
  I don't have any anti-virus software installed in my home computer. How can I know if it is infected with virus?
  Where can I get more information?
   
  Email Handling
  How can I know if an email attachment contains a virus?
  What is "Spam"?
  How can I avoid Spam?
  Are there any tools to protect my computer from Spam?
  Can I configure my mail software to filter mail messages?
  Should I reply to Spam messages to stop receiving them?
   
  Data Backup Procedures
  How frequently should I backup my work?
  Which method should I use to backup my files?
   
  Services provided on campus
  How are computers protected from virus on MPI campus?
  Why do I receive some messages beginning with *****SPAM***** in the Subject?
  What should I do if my computer gets infected by a virus?
   
 
  General Practice of Virus Prevention
  How do I keep my computer virus-free?
 

In MPI campus, all computers are protected from virus threats through anti-virus software and the Anti Virus Email gateway.
T
he anti-virus software updates automatically the virus definitions file thus ensuring an effective protection.
The Anti Virus Email Gateway system will catch viruses in your emails.
However, virus can be transmitted through floppy disks or data CD's. If you suspect your computer is infected by a virus, run the anti-virus software on your computer (scan the hard-disk and repair possible infected files) or call the Helpdesk for technical support (exts 176/108/526).
You should also:

. Avoid opening any attachment to an email that has a strange subject line, file name, or message, since email viruses are transmitted via attachments. Some viruses can make the messages appear as if they are from someone you know; therefore, the sender identity alone is not reliable.

. Reduce the potential damage a virus infection could cause by regularly backing up all important files.

  For your home computer, you can install a software-based firewall, such as ZoneAlarm. The free version provides basic protection of the computer from email viruses.
  You may also consider to install anti virus software (Grisoft offers a free edition of AVG Anti Virus) but any software will only protect your computer against known viruses and it will not recognise the new ones. Do not forget to configure your anti virus software to frequently seek virus definition updates.
  Install regularly the Windows updates. PC users should go to windowsupdate.microsoft.com. This page will scan your computer to detect which updates you need to fix security problems. Install all the recommended updates.
  To avoid junk emails and mail-virus attacks, you can use the free version of MailWasher that will check your email before you download it and warns you if it is suspected junk mail or virus infected.
 
   
  How can I update the Virus definitions file for the anti-virus software?
 

The anti-virus software installed on your MPI's computer is configured to automatically update the Virus Definitions file.
However, if for any reason you need to do it by yourself, you can download the latest Virus Definitions file in the following addresses, according to your anti-virus software:

 

- for Norton Anti Virus - Downloads page
- for Virex - Downloads page

 
   
  I don't have any anti-virus software installed in my home computer. How can I know if it is infected with virus?
  There are some online tools to help you scanning your computer, such as the online scanner from Trend Micro.
 
  Where can I get more information?
  The Information Technology Services Department (ITS) of Hong Kong has a highly informative web site on computer security.
 
  Email Handling
  How can I know if an email attachment contains a virus?
  The best way to know if an email attachment contains a virus is to keep the Virus Definitions file updated and configure your anti-virus software to scan automatically all incoming email.
Another way to protect the computer against email viruses is to check the sender and subject lines of each email. If you do not recognize the sender and/or the subject line seems suspicious, don't open the attachment.
 
  What is "Spam"?
  Spam is the unsolicited/unwanted emails sent mostly by commercial companies to sell their products. A large amount of email messages is spam.
 
  How can I avoid Spam?
 

In MPI, CSC provides a Spam scanning service. If you have a CTM email account, it is better to configure your email software to filter the messages. See the instructions below. Hotmail also has a "junk mail filter".
To reduce the chance of receiving Spam, you can create one additional e-mail account from one of the free e-mail services (Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.). Use that additional email account in any situation where the email address may be public, such as when registering with a web site or signing up for a newsletter or mailing list. In this way, your primary email account will be less available to spammers.

 
  Are there any tools to protect my computer from Spam?
 

You can use the free version of MailWasher that will check your email before you download it and warns you if it is suspected junk or virus infected mail.

 
  Can I configure my mail software to filter mail messages?
 

Yes. The mail software can be configured to automatically delete or store in an assigned folder messages that present some pre-defined characteristics, such as a specific subject, words or sender.
Instructions for setting up mail filters:

 

. Netscape Mail
. Outlook Express
. Web Mail

 
   
  Should I reply to Spam messages to stop receiving them?
 

It is better never reply to Spam, even when the message contains a link to an "unsubscribe" option. Your reply can be used to confirm your email address as a real one and the sender can spread it among other spammers. Instead, set up filters in your mail software.

 
  Data Backup Procedure
  How frequently should I backup my work?
 

There is no rule for this. Mainly, it depends upon how important the data is and how often you change or update it.
W
e recommend to backup your work every week. In case of exceptionally critical work or if the data changes constantly, it is better to perform a backup on a daily basis.

 
  Which method should I use to backup my files?
 

The safest method for backup is to record/save your files in a CD/RW (rewritable). In this way you can keep updating the backup as the work progresses.
You can backup your files into a CD either recording them through Easy CD Creator or saving them into the CD through the Direct CD Format utillity.
If you are not familiar with the procedures for any of these processes, read the instructions for using:

 

. Easy CD Creator
. Direct CD Format Utility

 
  How are computers protected from virus on MPI campus?
 

CSC has taken several steps towards protecting the computers from virus threats.
All computers in campus have anti-virus software installed with automatic updating of virus definitions files.
To prevent virus spreading by email, the anti-virus email gateway scans all incoming messages and attachments. If any virus is found in a message, it will be returned to the sender with a virus alert notice, to ensure that no virus-infected emails will be received by our users.

 
  Why do I receive some messages beginning with *****SPAM***** in the Subject?
  CSC has implemented a spam scanning system for helping you to filter spam emails from your mailbox. All incoming messages are scanned by the anti-spam system. Any spam suspected message will be marked with *****SPAM***** in the subject before being delivered to you.
Details about how to automatically filter these messages can be found in this page.
 
  What should I do if my computer got infected by a virus?
  If your computer seems to be infected with a virus, please seek technical help from the Helpdesk at exts. 176/108/526. They will help you detecting and removing the virus.

Last updated: by Computer Service Centre.