Don't Download Unknown or Unsolicited Programs or Files

Downloading unknown or unsolicited programs or files can be dangerous because they may contain viruses, malware, or harmful content that could harm your computer, compromise your personal data, or lead to potential security risks.

Protect Your Computer and Data

The following practices can reduce your risk of downloading viruses, malware, or other harmful content:

  • 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. Only download files, apps, and plugins from trusted sources.
  • Don't click on links or ads for software in email, pop-ups, 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.

Use Caution When Sharing Files

File sharing can be risky because it may expose data to potential hackers, spread viruses or malware, and potentially lead to legal consequences if copyrighted materials are shared without permission. Keep in mind that:

  • 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 Copyright Information for more information.

Get Help:

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

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