Anti-Virus FAQs

Why do I have to have anti-virus protection?

To protect your computer and the network neighborhood to which you belong.  You’re part of a community and have a responsibility to reduce threats to your computer so an infection on your computer doesn’t affect others.

What happens if I don't have an anti-virus program on my computer?

Your computer is very vulnerable to infections or malicious attacks.  Once infected, your computer can not only destroy files and programs on your hard drive, but can also affect the network connections of others on campus to the extent that the computers become virtually unusable.

What if I have a Mac?

Even though Macs may have a reputation for not being vulnerable to viruses, you’ll still need to make sure your Mac is protected.  You can review the installation instructions on our anti-virus page.

What if I install the program and get a virus anyway?

If you’ve done all that you can, including installing and regularly updating your anti-virus program, we may still temporarily disconnect your computer from the network to protect the network and perform necessary maintenance.

What if you don't know if your computer has an anti-virus program?

You can check to see if your computer has an anti-virus program by clicking on the Start Menu, selecting ‘All Programs’/’Programs’, and looking for common anti-virus programs, such as Norton, McAfee, Trend Micro, etc.  Many new computers come with free trials for various anti-virus programs, so double-check to see if they are full copies or just trial versions.

Do the free products I&TS recommends have options for different systems (Windows 7, XP, Windows 2000, etc.)?

The free products I&TS recommends to the PLU community supports all of these operating systems mentioned.

Can't I just install this when I get to campus? What if I don't do it before I get here?

You may experience some delays connecting your computer to the network if you don’t have an anti-virus program installed prior to your arrival.  If at all possible, install the program before you arrive.

What anti-virus alternatives do I have to the ones recommended by I&TS? Is one free anti-virus better than others? Are paid anti-virus programs better than free ones?

Information & Technology Services staff recommend free anti-virus software based on our experience with these programs and the programs’ own performance record. Our experience suggests that each anti-virus performed on average about as well as its contemporaries. The major difference lay in the impact on the user’s experience and the programs intrusiveness. Paid anti-virus programs on the whole performed similarly to free programs; the benefit of paid programs, however, is more security options. Ultimately, whatever program best suits the student/employee’s needs is the “best”.

Will my privacy be invaded (does it scan my computer and send any information back to PLU)?

We will soon have the ability to determine whether or not your computer has an anti-virus program before you can register the computer on PLU’s network.  However, we do not scan personal files on your computer.

Why are you charging to clean my computer of viruses?

[Note:  Refer to the Anti-Virus Software policy if you haven't already read it.  It can be found here.] The charge is not to clean your computer, although cleaning a computer takes us away from support of others.  The charge is to re-connect the computer to the network.  Much labor goes into the identification, repair, and reconnection after an infection.  Any disruption to the network by an infected machine is serious and in most cases is a disruption to university business.

Where will the money go?

Any money charged will go toward improving the network.  We believe that if students are diligent in protection their computers, there will be few incidents where a student is charged to reconnect to the network.

I understand that I may be referred to Student Conduct if I haven't adequately protected my computer and accidentally spread a virus. What if I already have been documented with Student Conduct and my anti-virus program accidentally runs out so I am referred to them again?

There are two issues here:  the first (student conduct issues) is entirely under your control and the second (your anti-virus program “accidentally” running out) probably means that you haven’t paid attention to your subscription — again, something entirely under your control.  Your referral to Student Conduct is to allow you to meet with a staff member to discuss your responsibility for protecting your computer from future virus attacks.

Hey, I'm a commuter student and I don't come to campus very often and when I do, I rarely access the network. Do I have to have an anti-virus program?

Actually, yes. If you don’t have a program, the Information & Technology Services staff recommend free anti-virus software you can install.

I just got a new computer and now I find that I have a virus. What happened?

A new computer may have been on the shelf for many months prior to your receiving delivery of it.  It’s likely that the first time you plug it in and connect to the web, you’ll be infected.  With Windows machines, you also need to regularly update the operating system.

The computer I bought 6 months ago had an anti-virus program but I still got infected. Why?

Many new computers come with a 90-day trial version of an anti-virus program.  Shortly before the end of the 90 days, pop-up messages will appear reminding you that your subscription will soon expire.  If you ignore the warnings and the deadline passes, your anti-virus software is no longer being updated; thus, your computer is vulnerable to new viruses.

What do I do if I have problems installing the anti-virus software?

Please stop by the I&TS Help Desk, located on the first floor of the Library, and our staff will be glad to assist you.