Viruses and Malware

What is Malware and Virus vs. Malware?

A virus is a piece of code that is capable of copying itself in order to do damage to your computer, including corrupting your system or destroying data. Malware, on the other hand, is an umbrella term that stands for a variety of malicious software, including Trojans, spyware, worms, adware, ransomware, and yes, viruses. So the logic follows: all viruses are malware. Not all malware are viruses. Source: Malwarebytes.

What should I know?

Your computer may be infected with malware if it:

  • Slows down, malfunctions, or displays repeated error messages;
  • won't shut down or restart;
  • serves up a lot of pop-up ads, or displays them when you're not surfing the web;
  • and/or displays web pages or programs you didn't intend to use, or sends e-mails you didn't write.

What can I do?

Protect yourself from the worst-case scenarios.

Backup Your Data

Make sure you are backing up all your data to an external hard drive or to the cloud, such as Google Drive, Crash Plan or Dropbox. 



Cloud Backup Solutions:

  • Google Drive - (All current Students, Faculty, and Staff at the University of San Diego get unlimited storage space via Google drive) As mentioned above, Google offers a free automatic backup solution used with Google drive called "Backup and Sync" (please see instructions to setup on your Mac or PC above)
  • Crash Plan - The University offers crashplan for faculty and staff upon request. There is a fee to the department and approval from the requesting department head is required. To get crashplan for your department, faculty, staff, or to get more information and pricing information, please email
  • iCloud - iCloud gives you 5GB and: 50 GB: $0.99 (Per month), 200 GB: $2.99 (Per month), 1 TB: $9.99 (Per month)
  • Dropbox - Basic accounts start with 2 GB of free space. You can earn more free space in a variety of ways. For example, by referring your friends to Dropbox, you can earn up to 16 GB of additional space. or 9.99 per month or $99 yearly for 1TB

Update your operating system and Web browser software regularly.

Use Anti-Virus Software

USD has a comprehensive site license for Norton’s Symantec virus protection software, for Windows and Macintosh. Download it free: Virus Updates .(MySanDiego login required)

Additional Tips:

  • Download free software only from sites you know and trust.
  • Don't click on links inside pop-ups or in unsolicited e-mails.