Viruses and spyware can easily infect your computer, particularly if you are running Windows, threatening not only your computer’s security but also your own identity and financial information. There are a few simple steps that you can — and should — take to keep your computer safe and secure.

ITHC_circle_1Update your operating system

Windows 7 +

Select Start > All Programs > Windows Update. You may need to RE-RUN the program to assure that you have loaded ALL available critical updates.

Mac OS X +

Select Apple > Software Update. The program automatically checks for and downloads any available updates.

ithc_circle2Run anti-virus software

BU has site-licensed McAfee VirusScan software for both PCs and Macs; download and install it for free. You may run other anti-virus software instead, but running this licensed version will save you from having to pay for annual maintenance contracts. More about viruses.

ithc_circle3Windows only – Run a spyware removal program

Spyware is at least as prevalent as viruses and can be even more dangerous. We recommend that you download and install and run free anti-malware software to protect your computer.

No one at Boston University will ever ask you for your password in email! Don’t become a victim of identity theft. You may occasionally receive messages that claim that BU will delete your account (or similar) unless you respond and supply your password. These dangerous phishing scams are attempts to steal your identity. Responding to such scams gives away access to your account and personal information.If you receive suspicious email asking you to reply or go to a website to provide information about your BU, Bank of America, eBay, PayPal, Chase Bank or other account, don’t do it!

Follow these recommendations to protect your identity

  1. Be skeptical of unexpected email, even if it appears to be from a BU address or someone you know, and especially if it requests you to provide or verify personal or financial details or information about an account. “From” addresses are easy to fake. “Phishing” scams often appear to come from your bank, or services such as PayPal or eBay. They may say that they’ve observed suspicious activity on your account, and threaten to disable your access if you don’t click on a link and provide verifying information about your account.
  2. Don’t open unexpected email attachments. They can infect your computer with a virus or spyware, or install a keystroke logger on your system, allowing criminals to collect information about your online banking accounts, your passwords, and your credit card numbers. Clicking on a link to visit a malicious webpage can also install viruses, spyware, and keystroke loggers on your computer.
  3. Filter out spam. Spam is always annoying, and it can be dangerous too: spam email often contains virus, spyware, or phishing exploits. You can protect yourself from many of these hazards by filtering spam.


  1. If you suspect your computer has a virus, follow these removal instructions.
  2. Protect against regular, old fashioned theft by registering your notebook computer with the BUPD.