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.

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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. More on scams.
  • 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.