Knowledgebase: IT Security
Security: Protecting Yourself Against Viruses and Malware
Updated: 24 July 2020 01:16 PM

Malware is Malicious Software

The best defence against cyber attacks starts with you – the students, staff and faculty of OCAD U. 

Malware is software - usually delivered in the form of an attachment like a Microsoft word, PDF file or a link to a malicious site - which may attempt to gather sensitive information, damage your computer or display unwanted advertisements.  Credential theft via phishing and a particular kind of malware known as ransomware are the most common threats we face.  Ransomware can lock you out from ALL of the files on your computer and demand that you pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to get them back.  Malware comes in many forms, and can target Windows, macOS, mobile devices and IoT (Internet of Things) eg. smart TVs, smart speakers or any device that connects to the internet.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

For any service that supports it, you should enable two-factor authentication (sometimes shortened to 2FA or MFA - Multi Factor Authentication). Two-Factor Authentication requires services to send push notifications to a mobile device when you sign into services with a new browser.

"two-factor authentication is a simple feature that asks for more than just your password. It requires both "something you know" (like a password) and "something you have" (like your phone)." - Lifehacker 

Install Anti-malware Software

We have frequently recommended that users run some sort of Antimalware software. One example is Malwarebytes:

Protect your browser:

Install Anti-virus Software

OCAD U Owned Desktops & Laptops

  • We currently install Symantec Endpoint Protection on IT imaged Windows 10 Desktop computers, long-term loaner laptops, and administrative laptops. 

Personal Devices

Using Anti-virus provides an additional layer of protection your machine from getting infected if you download malware accidentally. 

Anti-virus software should be considered a last line of defense, and will not protect against poor computer security practices, this is because an anti-virus can only protect against known viruses, poor passwords, visiting unsecured sites and scam emails will not be detected by an Anti-virus. Mac computers should also have an Anti-virus installed, as they are vulnerable to virus infection as well.

Mobile Devices

  • Always check the permissions on app downloads to make sure you are not downloading a malicious application.
  • On Android, install Avira for Android to protect your device: 
  • On iOS, never jailbreak, sideload or install any applications outside of the iOS App Store.

About Phishing

How to Get Help

  • If you are unsure about a piece of email sent to you, email 
  • Contact the IT Helpdesk (x277) or the Laptop Helpdesk (x444) to ask questions and troubleshoot issues.

Related Articles

Phishing Emails, Blocking Senders and Managing Junk Email