Detecting and Removing Viruses, Spyware and other Malware

Antivirus and anti-spyware software are used to prevent, detect and remove viruses and other unwanted programs (malware) from your computer. To ensure the highest level of security, we recommend you use an anti-spyware program along with your anti-virus program. BUMC IT recommends the free (or inexpensive) and effective anti-spyware programs below to help you detect, remove and protect your PC or Mac from attacks. If you have questions or need assistance removing malware, contact the Service Desk at (617) 638-5914 or bumchelp@bu.edu.

Warning: Watch out for fake virus alerts

A few of the other programs that are referred to as “rogue security software” claim to remove spyware but are themselves spywareNever install “spyware-removal” software that you see advertised on pop-up windows without checking it out first. Learn more about rogue security software.

PC

(Mac users, click here)

Antivirus Software

Choose one of the following antivirus software options to install on your computer. Antivirus software will run in the background and update periodically to give you the best protection against viruses.

Commercially Available: 

  • McAfee VirusScan- BU maintains a site license for McAfee VirusScan (Windows and Mac) and McAfee AntiSpyware (Windows), so you can download and use them for free if you have a BU login name and Kerberos password. You can install this both on University owned machines as well as personal machines.

Free:

  • Windows Security Essentials- **Do not install this software if your machine was purchased by Boston University using grants or direct funds. It does not fall under the license agreement of Microsoft.**
  • AVG Free Antivirus- free antivirus and anti-spyware security software for Windows.
  • avast!- another free antivirus and anti-spyware security software for Windows

Security Scanners

Spyware is a significant problem for all Windows users. If you use Windows, you must install at least one spyware detection program on your computer, in addition to your antivirus program and your firewall. The BUMC IT Service Desk suggests the following programs for anyone who uses Windows.

Along with your antivirus software, install one or more of the following security scanners and run a scan once a week for the highest level of protection. Make sure to check for software updates before running the scan.

Free Download:

Commercially Available:

Online Vulnerability Scan (free):

If you do not want to download a security scanner program, you can run the Secunia Online Software Inspector (OSI), which is a quick way to scan your PC for the most common programs and vulnerabilities. Please note that Secunia OSI only checks if your PC has a minimum security baseline against known patched vulnerabilities.

Mac

Viruses and other malware have not been a big issue for Mac users in the past, however an increase in malware targeting the Mac OS X has been seen recently. BUMC IT highly recommends installing Antivirus software on your Mac and running periodic scans.

Antivirus Software

Choose one of the following antivirus software options to install on your computer. Antivirus software will run in the background and update periodically to give you the best protection against viruses.

Commercially Available Antivirus Software

  • McAfee VirusScan- BU maintains a site license for McAfee VirusScan (Mac), so you can download and use it for free if you have a BU login name and Kerberos password.

Free Antivirus Software

Security Scanners

Along with your antivirus software, install any of the following security scanners and run a scan periodically for added protection. Make sure to install any updates before running a scan.

Free download:

  • ClamXav- free virus scanner for Mac OS X