The Catholic University of America

Viruses & Malware

Office of Computer Services

Viruses and malware can cause your computer to slow down, destroy or corrupt files, and send personal information to third parties. These programs can also cause networks to crash or become unstable. If you wish to connect your Windows laptop to the Columbus School of Law networks, wired or wireless, you are required to have an up to date antivirus program.

Microsoft Windows

Students who own a computer running Microsoft Windows 7 or earlier can download and install Microsoft Security Essentials, available from Microsoft free of charge.  Windows Defender is built into Windows 8 and provides the same virus protection as Security Essentials.

Or you can use one of many other free antivirus products, such as AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition or Avira AntiVir Personal.

Apple Mac OS

Students who own a computer running Apple Mac OS can use the free Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition product.

Commercial Products

For comprehensive protection, there are commercial security suites available from vendors such as McAfee and Norton, with versions that run on Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS.

It is easy to decrease your chances of contracting a computer virus:

  • Install an antivirus program and keep it up to date.
  • Do not install dubious programs from the internet such as "coupon printers."  If a website wants you to install software for purposes that are otherwise built-in (printing, viewing/uploading photos, etc.), chances are really good it's so that they can surreptitiously install other things that you don't want.
  • If a program says it will "clean" your computer, but wants money to do so, it's fake.  Don't ever give your credit card, or any other personal information, to any software that you didn't specifically and intentionally install.
  • Keep your computer patched via Microsoft/Windows Updates.  Click here for information on running Windows Updates.
  • Pay attention to, and fully read security warnings that pop up, being especially wary of fake pop-ups designed to mimic legitimate Windows warnings.  Here is a Microsoft article about fake alerts, and here are some more examples of what they look like.
  • Do not install free toolbars, deal alerts, etc. from websites, even ones that you generally trust.  Even if they're not malicious, they rarely if ever provide any useful functionality, and almost always slow down your internet browser.
  • Only visit websites you know to be safe.
  • Do not participate in peer-to-peer file sharing.  Not only are P2P (Vuze and other Bit Torrent clients, FrostWire, LimeWire, etc) extremely dangerous to your computer, they could also jeopardize your chances of being accepted to the Bar, or prevent you from getting jobs that require clearance. 
  • Install an ad-blocker such as Adblock Plus.  It's free, it speeds up your web browsing, and often provides more protection from web-borne malware than your antivirus software.



If you have or think you might have a virus:

  • Update and run your antivirus software to try to remove it (if possible - don't be surprised if an infections disables your security software).
  • Use Microsoft's free "emergency" virus removal program at
  • Bring your laptop to Computer Services.