Anti-malware Software Guidelines

All UC Berkeley IT Resources and all devices connected to the UC Berkeley network or cloud services must comply with the Minimum Security Standard for Networked Devices (MSSND)The recommendations below are provided as optional guidance to assist with achieving the Anti-malware Software requirement.

MSSND Anti-malware Software Requirement

For Microsoft Windows and macOS devices, anti-malware software must be running, up-to-date, and configured to update automatically. In addition, the software must run real-time scanning and/or scan the device regularly. Anti-malware software is also recommended for mobile devices, network storage appliances, and Linux where available.

Background and Description of Risk

Malware is short for “malicious software” and broadly describes all software that is designed to provide unauthorized access or perform unauthorized actions on a system. The impact of malware can range from minor system performance issues to complete hard drive deletion or even full, remote control of a system by an attacker. It is important to detect malware before it infects a system. 

While anti-malware software provides significant protection against malware of all types, it is not 100% effective. Requirement #9, “Privileged Accounts" provides additional protection against malware which may not be detected by anti-malware software. 


1. Institutionally-owned and Managed Devices

Minimum Security Standard for Networked Devices (MSSND) requirements are covered by Endpoint Operations and Services (EOS) for ITCS and departmental IT-supported systems that are institutionally owned and are managed by BigFix.

2. Personal Devices and Unmanaged Institutionally-owned Devices

Current, manufacturer-supported versions of Windows 8 and higher, and macOS X operating systems contain built-in anti-malware protections that meet MSSND requirements. Personal devices and unmanaged institutionally-owned devices should be maintained at these operating system release levels.

  • For Windows computers, be sure to confirm that Windows Defender is turned on.
  • NOTE: Certain free anti-malware software is only free for personal use. Always check the licensing agreement. Software for personal use only may not be installed on a university device or registered under your account.

3. Enable Real-time Scanning

In order to detect malware before they are able to infect a system, enable real-time scanning. Real-time scanning will analyze files and programs as they are copied to a system in order to prevent the user from unknowingly becoming infected.

Edge Cases:

Servers where real-time scanning creates unacceptable performance issues

Some servers may be operating in an environment where real-time scanning negatively impacts the performance of the services. In these cases, ensure that all clients connecting to the server are running anti-malware software with real-time scanning enabled and schedule anti-malware scans for the server on a weekly basis.

Anti-malware software that does not support real-time scanning

Some anti-malware software may not have the ability to perform real-time scanning of the system. In these cases, we recommend upgrading to a software package that supports real-time scanning.