Don't Download Unknown or Unsolicited Programs or Files

What's the risk of downloading programs and files?

They can harbor behind-the-scenes computer viruses and spyware, or open a "back door" giving others access to your computer without your knowledge.

(Back to "How to Stay Secure" page)

To help protect your computer and data:

  • Only download files, apps, and plugins from trusted sources.
  • Don't download plugins to view pictures, videos, music and other content online without verifying their legitimacy. These often contain malware.
  • Don't download unknown software or files. Be especially cautious about free software offered online or via email.
  • Use filesharing software with caution.
    • Improperly configured filesharing software can allow others access to your entire computer, not just to the files you intend to share.
    • Viruses and other malware can be transmitted by filesharing software; files offered by others may not always be what they say they are.
    • Although filesharing is not in itself illegal, if you share or download copyrighted material without permission – even unwittingly – you are breaking both the law and UC policy and could be subject to University, criminal, and/or civil sanctions. Please see ITS’ Copyright Education web site for more information.
  • Don't click on links or ads for software in email, popups, instant messages/texts, or social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Don't open unsolicited attachments. If in doubt, contact the sender and ask if the attachment is legitimate.
  • Don't use untrusted portable media, such as a stranger's flash drive. If the flash drive is infected, it will infect your computer.
  • Never deactivate your computer's antivirus or other protective software. Set them to update frequently and automatically.


Contact the ITS Support Center or your ITS Divisional Liaison if you have questions.

Rev. Sept 2015