If you make software available to others

Those who distribute software to others should take steps to ensure the integrity of the software they provide and should check that the software:

  1. Does what it is intended to do.
  2. Is free from serious bugs and unwanted side-effects.
  3. Is free from viruses.
  4. Remains safe from infection by viruses when in the place of distribution.

Problematic software distribution will cause inconvenience to others, may damage your or the University's reputation, and may even render you open to legal action (under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 it is an offence to distribute programs that cause unauthorised modifications to the contents of a computer).

Also consider the legality of distributing the software from the point of view of copyright (most software is licenced and cannot be distributed to others without the permission of the licence holder - payment may also be necessary).  Be aware that failure to comply with the terms of a software licence agreement may result in prosecution of the individual and/ or University.

Prepare software distributions only on PCs on which recommended anti-virus software is installed. Avoid preparing a software distribution on a shared PC. Please take the following additional precautions:

  • Test the software thoroughly before distribution, by running it yourself for at least several days before making it available to others. Only when you are confident that the software is well-behaved and virus-free should you make it available. If in doubt, don't!
  • Immediately before preparing the distribution, use an up-to-date copy of recommended anti-virus software to examine the software itself and the hard disk of the PC used to prepare the distribution.

If distributing software on writeable CD-ROM

  • It is best if these are brand new and blank (if the disks have previously been used for other purposes then re-format them rather than just deleting their contents).
  • Use an up-to-date copy of recommended anti-virus software to double-check one distribution set before taking them to other PCs.

If making software available to others over networks

When filestore containing PC software is shared with others over a network, steps should be taken to ensure the filestore contents remain free from tampering and virus infection. How this is done depends entirely on the facilities available on the computer containing the filestore. Consult your department's Data Protection Advisor, computer support person, or Information Services for further information.