Malware Information and Advice

Malicious software includes viruses, worms, trojans, adware, spyware and similar threats. “Malware” can slow down your computer or network access, steal private information, or be used by hackers to attack other machines. It can be spread by opening e-mail attachments, visiting websites, using infected USB flash drives, CDs, or DVDs, by installing disguised video players, playing infected media files, or even by using purported anti-malware programs. Even careful and conscientious users can have malware on their computers. If you suspect that you have installed malware, you should:

Contact your local IT support professional or LAN Administrator to check for and repair malware infections — they may have increased rights to manage or install software on your system. If you do not know who your local LAN Administrator is, contact the Help Desk for assistance.

If you do not have a local IT support professional, use a virus/malware tool to scan and repair your computer. It is important to utilize a tool that does not require installation and is a standalone executable for scanning and removing malware. See below for a list of tools that have been tested and shown to be effective for use at Johns Hopkins. NOTE: these tools are designed to be run on desktop systems. If you need to scan a server, you should proceed with caution and only after a full backup.

When you are confident that your computer is not infected, take the following steps to maintain secure operations:

  1. Ensure that your operating system has been recently updated and that you are automatically notified when new updates are available.
  2. Ensure that your anti-virus software is installed, working and up-to-date.
  3. Ensure that you have updated other programs such as Adobe Acrobat Reader (for PDF files), Java, Microsoft Office, Adobe Flash. Most computers that are managed by a desktop group at Hopkins maintain appropriate patch levels.