Voir en


Computer Security: Winter season, virus time – one free pill for your device


The winter season – a time for runny noses, coughs and colds, headaches and malaises, viruses and infections. And a time for boosting your immune system. Hot teas and warm baths. Early nights and long sleeps. As you take measures to protect your physical well-being, maybe it’s also a good moment to think about your digital well-being? In other words, protecting your digital devices against viruses and infections.

Remember that many aspects of your digital life revolve around your laptop. The one that stores the photos and videos of your friends and family, your personal documents, passport copies, official papers, emails. The one you use for social media, for private and professional video calls, for chats, for gaming. The one you use for online banking and shopping. The one that’s always within reach – in your office, in your living room, on your nightstand. 

Imagine what would happen if a third party got access to your laptop. A malicious attacker – pure evil – that steals your data, encrypts it, deletes it or publishes it on some obscure dark net webpage and forces you to pay a ransom (so-called “ransomware”). That sniffs out your passwords or goes shopping with your money (plain and simple theft). That enables your webcam and microphone without you noticing. Spying on you, recording your conversations, videoing your home life, stalking you. And threatening to publish those videos on some obscure dark net webpage unless you pay up (so-called “doxware”).

Such malicious access happens more quickly than you might think. One wrong click on a malicious webpage. One wrong snapshot of a malicious QR code. One wrong opening of a malicious attachment. One wrong mod of your favourite game. One wrong password entry on a malicious log-in page. Click. And boom. Enter the evil attacker. See your digital life shattered.

Anti-virus to the rescue! To better protect your digital life, CERN offers you free anti-virus/anti-malware software. Download it from the CERN app store for Windows (“ESET Endpoint Security”) or via the Mac Self-Service (“ESET Endpoint Antivirus”). Installation* is free on any Windows or Mac computer you own, including those used for teleworking. The only conditions are that you must be affiliated with CERN as a member of the personnel and hold an eligible CERN computing account. With that account, just enrol your device(s) with the CERN/Microsoft Windows app store or the Mac Self-Service, respectively, and install the corresponding installation package (“ESET…”). Its licence is valid for 12 months and must be renewed for each subsequent year (again using the CERN app store or Mac Self-Service, respectively).

So, for the sake of your physical and digital well-being, give it a go to avoid this winter season’s viruses and infections!

*Note that the installation includes a “CERN software” agent that keeps track of licence usage (as someone still has to pay for that anti-malware software).


Do you want to learn more about computer security incidents and issues at CERN? Follow our Monthly Report. For further information, questions or help, check our website or contact us at Computer.Security@cern.ch.