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Viruses, Spyware, & Spam

Running updated antivirus software and practicing safe computing habits will help you avoid many common computer problems.


Viruses are usually short blocks of hidden executable code that replicate and modify other host computer programs. Generally, viruses also maliciously harm host computers by corrupting data, stealing information, and slowing performance. Related to viruses are Trojan horses, which open covert 'backdoors' on host computers, but unlike viruses they do not usually replicate themselves. Worms are programs that spread over network connections, but they do not attach to any host programs. A worm's main goal is to replicate itself; it may also harm the host computer.

To prevent your computer from being infected with viruses, Trojan horses, or worms, please download and install Symantec AntiVirus.

Please also see the section Yale E-mail to learn how to filter out potentially virus infected email.

Spyware and Adware

Spyware and adware are often bundled with free software and are usually installed without your knowledge. Many file-sharing programs bundle these malicious programs, including CoolWebSearch, Golden Palace Casino, Gator, webHancer, and PrecisionTime. Designed mainly to spy on users and deliver popup advertisements, spyware and adware can slowly decrease the performance of your computer. To install Spybot and Ad-Aware to combat spyware and adware, visit If you think your computer is infected with spyware or adware, scan your computer with Spybot and Ad-Aware, then contact a Computing Assistant if necessary for further help.


Spam is unsolicited junk email from automated senders. While there is no perfect solution to prevent from being 'spammed', here are several steps that you can follow to help alleviate the amount of spam your e-mail account receives:

The Yale e-mail system can filter spam for you. To activate spam management for your e-mail account, follow the steps below.

  1. Go to the E-mail Account Management Tool Login page ( and login with your NetID and password.
  2. Click the Configure link next to Spam Management.
  3. Select Yes to Send tagged spam to folder...
  4. Select Yes to Automatically delete 30-day-old messages...
  5. Click on the Update Spam Management Configuration.
  6. Logout to save your changes.