Female student with laptop on chair in lounge

Virus Resources

Computer viruses can cause serious damage to your computer’s operating system, infecting your computer through email attachments or unsafe websites. An important thing to remember is to not open emails or attachments that are unexpected or unfamiliar. There are also other important steps you can take to keep your computer safe and virus free while you’re living in a Penn State residence hall.

Install an Antivirus program

When you bought your computer it probably came with a “trial version” antivirus program. The problem with free trial versions is that they expire and leave your computer vulnerable to virus attacks. ResCom recommends that you purchase and install a full version of a reputible antivirus program.  Penn State no longer provides the free subscription to Symantec antivirus.

Even though many antivirus softwares include a real-time Autoprotect feature, this does not scan your entire computer making it important to run a scan of your machine at least once a week.

If your antivirus program detects a virus or a problem, disconnect your computer from the Internet and contact your ResCom desk.

Install Free Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Malwarebytes is a professional Anti-Malware software that is used by consumers to remove malware from their computers. Malwarebytes can be downloaded for a 14-day free trial at the following website https://www.malwarebytes.org/downloads/.  Beyond 14 days a subscription is required.

Install software updates

Your operating system may contain vulnerabilities in which antivirus software will not prevent an attack. Microsoft, Apple, and other various software vendors release software patches often. If you're not sure whether your computer is configured to receive automatic updates, contact ResCom. Our team is happy to make sure your computer is properly configured.

Microsoft publishes weekly critical updates that must be installed to prevent vulnerabilities. Check for Microsoft updates often—every week or so—by opening your Start menu and clicking on Windows Update. If any critical updates are listed, make sure to install those right away.

ResCom recommends that you do not install hardware driver updates through Microsoft Updates when doing Windows Updates. Check with your computer’s manufacturer to get all hardware driver updates for a component in your computer.


Macintosh computers are vulnerable to viruses and require updates, just as Windows computers do. Updating to Macintosh OSX will protect your Mac, and it's easy to do. Just follow these steps.

  1. Choose Software Update from the Apple menu.
  2. If an update is required on any software, it will be listed here. Select the items you want to update, and then click Update.
  3. Enter an Admin user name and password if required.
  4. After the update is completed, restart the computer if requested.