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Malware, or malicious software, is hostile, intrusive, or annoying code that includes viruses, spyware, adware, worms, trojan horses, and other unwanted programs.

Malware is written and released on a daily basis. Many of the more common types of malware change frequently, making these attacks more difficult to detect. Malware spreads rapidly and by many different channels, for example via email attachments, infected document files, websites that contain hostile code, and unprotected fileshares. To more effectively protect your computer from malware, be sure to use antivirus software, enable firewall capabilities, and regularly install antivirus updates. You can download free antivirus software at Note that new computers often come with trial versions of antivirus software, and having two different antivirus programs installed on one computer can cause conflicts. Always uninstall the antivirus software that came on your computer before installing the Symantec software provided by Penn State. Follow the links below for instructions..

  • Windows
  • Macintosh
  • Spyware is often installed as a component of freeware programs, including some peer-to-peer (P2P) applications. To protect yourself from spyware, be cautious when downloading freeware or accepting free downloads. As with personal firewalls, there are anti-spyware programs for individual user machines that help in detecting and cleaning spyware from your system. Such programs are often free for home or individual use. Two common anti-spyware programs are Ad-Aware and Spybot. Learn more about spyware: