By Dawn Brown, IT Help Desk Manager

Computer malware infections (malicious software, viruses, and spyware) are one of the biggest challenges facing campus users and our IT support staff who have to respond to the problems they cause. The infections can result in missing files, stolen information, and computer crashes. The infections can be hard to troubleshoot, and recovering from them can be a very time-consuming process that is disruptive to the computer user who loses the use of the computer while it is restored.

One way people can become infected is by visiting web sites that distribute malware. There are tools available to protect against this, and last year the Division of IT (DoIT) implemented a web traffic filtering device from Blue Coat that screens web traffic for viruses, spyware, and other malware. The addition of this device has resulted in a 75% decrease in computer malware infections on student-owned computers!

DoIT is now able to provide this same protection to WCU-owned faculty and staff computers. DoIT will install a small “client” application that works with the Blue Coat web filtering device on all computers attached to the campus network that run the Windows operating system. This includes Macintosh computers running Windows. The installation will be done automatically through the campus network on Thursday, September 22, 2011. The installation will not interrupt the use of your computer or require you to restart your computer. Once it is installed, if you ever visit a web site that has been identified as having malicious traffic/content, you will be redirected to an information page that explains why access to the web site was denied. It also gives you options for further information/action.

The Blue Coat Proxy Client is also available for your personally-owned computer through our Software Downloads page. This will help you protect your home system(s) and lessen the chance that you could become infected and bring infected files from home to your office.

If you have any questions about web filtering, please contact the IT Help Desk at 227-7487.