What can viruses do?

Viruses used to play pranks or stop your computer working, but now they compromise security in more insidious ways. Here is a short list of the things that viruses can do.

  • Slow down email.
  • Steal confidential data.
  • Use your computer to attack websites.
  • Let other users hijack your computer.
  • Corrupt data.
  • Delete data.
  • Disable hardware.
  • Play pranks.
  • Display messages.
  • Damage your credibility.
  • Cause you embarrassment.

If you wish to have your computer connected up to the network, giving you access to the College systems, University facilities and the Internet then you must have some Anti-Virus software installed on your computer.  You are free to use any anti-virus software of your choice, but you must prove to the IT Office that you have a valid subscription to updates for the duration of your stay.

Be very aware that while most new computers come with anti-virus software installed, it is usual that this software only has a 3-6 month subscription and will require further payment from you to extend this licence. The software mentioned below is free (conditions apply).

Anti-Virus Software

Important: You should only ever have one antivirus product installed at any one time.


Members of the University are also entitled to free use of Sophos Antivirus.

You can obtain a copy from central IT Services via self-registration: IT Services software downloads, as this is site-licensed software and they must keep track of the licences issued.

Also, remember to remove all Sophos products from your computer when you finish your course at Oxford University, as you will no longer be entitled to a licence.

Sophos Home

Sophos offer a free and paid version of their software for non-commercial, personal use Sophos Home.