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Virus and Malware

Why Worry?
Tools, Tips, & Tactics
Word of Wisdom

Just as stepping out into the sun without the protection of sunscreen or a hat can cause permanent damage to your skin, going with-out virus protection can also cause permanent damage to your computer. Viruses are small computer programs created with a malicious intent to cause damage to your computer. Viruses generally self-replicate and may spread through networks, downloads, email, and removable media(USB flash drives, CDs, DVDs, etc). Viruses interfere with the normal working of your computer by corrupting the data or by deleting it altogether. Viruses could potentially compromise safety of personal information. Viruses come in different varieties and my include the following: malware, spyware, worms, and Trojan horses. Definitions of these words are listed in Tools, Tips, & and Tactics section.

A virus can cause damage to a computer that can take hours to rectify and can cause irreparable damage to your data by either corrupting it or deleting it altogether. Viruses can also delete some of your computer files, send email from one of your accounts without your knowledge, cause your computer to run more slowly, and also prevent you from restarting your computer. The old adage, prevention is better than cure, holds true in the case of viruses. Because computer viruses can replicate and spread, the harmful effects are not limited only to the infected computer. When a virus-infected computer connects to the BYU network, the virus can damage or infect the server and potentially the entire network.

Visit the BYU-Hawaii Office of Information Technology or Academic Labs for assistance.

Types of Viruses

Malware: Derived from the words "malicious" and "software," It is designed to damage a computer system without the consent of the owner.

Spyware: Computer software that obtains information from a user's computer without the knowledge or consent of the user.

Worms: A software program capable of reproducing itself that can spread from one computer to the next over a network.

Trojan horse: Often referred to as a Trojan. It is a form of malware that can do considerable damage to a system or network. The user may think that it is performing a desirable function, when in reality it actually performs undisclosed malicious functions that allow unauthorized access to the host machine, which may result in the host being able to save files or even control the user's computer.

Preventive Measures

• Install antivirus software, keep it updated, and run weekly checks

• Avoid torrents and other peer-to-peer file sharing software

• Avoid opening email attachments from unknown or suspicious senders

• Avoid untrustworthy websites

• Always scan removable media (USB drives, CDs, DVDs, etc.) before using them

• Be careful with instant messaging. Stick to known email address and contacts and check new addresses before adding to contact list

• Install security patches associated with your operating system - generally these may be found at your software vendor's website
- Microsoft Security
- Apple Security Update

Removing a Viruses

Below are general ways to remove a virus from your computer. If the first option does not work, try successive options.

• Scan computer with up-to-date antivirus software.

• Reboot computer in “Safe Mode.” Run antivirus software scan again. Reboot to normal mode.

• Use a web-based antivirus product such as Trend Micro web-based virus.

• If the options above fail, remove the hard drive and install it as a secondary drive in a clean computer. Use the clean computer to scan and clean the hard drive. (If necessary, ask for help from a professional.)

• As a last resort, back up all files, format the computer, and reload the operating system.


A firewall is a hardware or software system that is built to guard an internal network from unauthorized intrusions. Firewalls can protect you by blocking unwanted information that attempts to creep into your computer from the Internet. A firewall can distinguish between good and malicious information, thereby acting as a filter. There are many firewall products available that can provide your computer with adequate security.

To learn more about how firewalls work visit

How Stuff Works - How Firewalls Work
Firewalls - Wikipedia
Internet security and firewall reviews

Let Our Voices Be Heard” Elder M. Russell Ballard, October 2003 General Conference

“Brothers and sisters, refuse to be used. Refuse to be manipulated. Refuse to support those programs that violate traditional family values.”

“Spiritual Identity Theft”Robert C. Oaks, “Your Divine Heritage,” Ensign, Apr 2008, 46–50.

Let us briefly discuss a significant threat to achieving our divine potential. Today we receive many warnings about identity theft. Some of you may have experienced the trauma resulting from this fraud. In our cybernetic world of trust and rapid transmission of medical, financial, and other personal data, we are vulnerable to exploitation of our identifying details. Theft of our numerical mortal identity can be costly and cause us a great deal of misery. But the theft of our eternal identity has much longer effects and more dire consequences. I am not talking about addresses, credit cards, or any other identifying numbers. I am talking about something much more basic and more important than who the world thinks you are. I am talking about who you think you are.

We know we are sons and daughters of God, with the potential to become like Him as described in His plan of happiness. We know this potential is achieved through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and through obedience to the eternal laws and principles embedded in His gospel. We also know that Satan is totally dedicated to thwarting and derailing this marvelous plan-of-happiness knowledge and process. We know that one of his primary tools is to entice us to forget who we really are—to fail to realize or to forget our divine potential. This is the cruelest form of identity theft.

How does Satan do it? He is quite straightforward and predictable. First, he attempts to prompt doubts in our minds about our divine potential. He even cultivates doctrine in the world implying we are much less than we really are. He undermines our faith—and thus our confidence—in our ability to achieve our potential. He strives to bring us to a mind-set in which we believe that we, individually, are not good enough to ever achieve our celestial goals.

In this same vein Satan seeks to convince us that we are so bad that even the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is not sufficient to reach down to our lowly depths and draw us up unto our Savior. He tempts us into paths that seem to verify his cynicism about our grand and glorious potential.

He then hedges his bets by surrounding us with the gaudy, glitzy filth of pornography and other forms of immorality and thus precludes our being led by the Holy Spirit. He is a clever fellow with many tricks to make us forget who we really are: sons and daughters of God with divine potential.

Excerpts from “Fighting Internet Filth” Mario Hipol, Ensign, August 2005, 54-57.

Use a pop-up blocker on the Internet. Pop-up windows appear automatically on a computer screen and usually have nothing to do with the Web page a user is viewing. Some pop-up windows contain pornographic material or direct the user to offensive Web sites. Most major Internet service providers and some search engines provide free pop-up blockers for download. Some browsers have pop-up blockers already built in.

[Beware of] free peer-to-peer or chat-based programs to download material. Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing or networking enables computer users to download or “share” music or media for little or no cost. Because copyright violations abound, most peer-to-peer file sharing is illegal, especially when computer users trade files with people they don’t know. And most Internet filters cannot block peer-to-peer file sharing.

Many common viruses and vulgar materials are spread through peer-to-peer file sharing. Deceptive individuals rename pornography and viruses with the names of popular songs, artists, and movies in an attempt to lure unsuspecting users to their material. Once that material is downloaded and opened on a computer, the computer user is subject to whatever the contents may be. There is no way to filter out files that have been altered to hide their true content.

[Don’t] open spam e-mail. Unsolicited bulk e-mail, or spam, is a major source of pornography on the Internet. To avoid accessing pornography this way, instruct your family members to delete any e-mail from unknown senders rather than opening it. Do not try to unsubscribe from spam; you will likely get more of it because the sender will know that he or she has reached a valid e-mail address. Opening spam can cause you to get more spam and see things you don’t want to see.