Learn more about Malware, Ransomware, Viruses, and other malicious software

Malware is any software that is intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems, including viruses, trojan horses, worms, adware, ransomware, clickware or scareware. Malicious emails can be sent from people you know, or may just look like they are coming from someone you know. Malware attachments are commonly found in .zip files, but can also be found in .pdfs, .exe files, and even Word and Excel documents.

One of the most popular forms of malware today is ransomware, which is a type of malware that encrypts files on your computer, keeping you from accessing them. The author of the ransomware then requests a ransom (typically $300 - $1000+) to receive the encryption key. As a precedent, LMU does not pay ransoms for files encrypted by ransomware. Ransomware infections can come from email attachments or infected websites containing malicious JavaScript.

Safer Things from LMU ITS on Vimeo.

Protect yourself from malware



LMU-managed computers have McAfee security software installed on them, which protects against most forms of malware. LMU also has licenses available for personal use for students, which can be received on a thumb drive from Tech on 2 on level two of the William H. Hannon Library. While ITS keeps McAfee software current on LMU-owned computers, new threats occur daily and personal computers should be updated regularly as well.



Additionally, follow these guidelines: 



  • Don't open email attachments or downloaded files without verifying that they came from a reputable source.

  • If you aren't expecting an email attachment from someone, proceed with caution.

  • Be wary of clicking links in email messages, especially long URLs from people you don't know. It is safer to visit the site by typing its URL into your browser or, if applicable, using an existing shortcut that you have to the site.

  • Be alert of fake virus warnings, often within web browser windows, that encourage you to download, install, or purchase unfamiliar software.

  • Heed warnings from web browsers, search engines, and security products that try to protect you from known or suspected threats.


  • To further protect yourself from ransomware attacks, do not enable macros in Microsoft Office applications unless you know the document needs macros turned on to function properly.

Signs your computer may be infected with malware:

  • Your computer may slow significantly.
  • The icons on your desktop may change to generic ones.
  • You may see a message informing you that your computer has been locked and provide instructions to pay ransom. If this happens, IMMEDIATELY unplug your computer’s network cable and/or turn off WiFi and call the ITS Help Desk.

Remember, ITS only sends official notifications either through MYLMU Blast or LMUITS@lmu.edu. And we would never, ever, ask for your password! Stay aware and keep your computer safe!