Virus infects campus e-mail

 Uncategorized
Jan 292004
 
Authors: Carmen Filosa

In an effort to stop the spread of two viruses that have been

affecting computers worldwide, Academic Computing and Networking

Services is advising caution when opening any e-mails with

attachments.

Last week’s Bagel virus and the less than a week old MyDoom

virus are two of the fastest spreading computer viruses in history,

said Diane Noren, an information technology professional for the

Weber Building computer lab.

“It’s a worm virus that was mass mailed all over the place,”

said Kevin Nolan, an IT specialist for the ACNS.

Nolan said it is characteristic of both viruses to have

attachments in the e-mail that if opened allow a “backdoor” to be

opened in the computer.

“(The backdoor) allows others to talk to your computer with out

you knowing,” Nolan said.

If the backdoor is not closed, Nolan said the creators of the

viruses are allowed access to everything in the computer, including

files, electronic ID’s and passwords, and credit card numbers.

“They open up ports so hackers can read your files and delete

your hard drives,” said Jake Gross, a computer training and support

services consultant for the Weber computer lab.

Gross said the viruses only affect computers that use Windows

and that the Bagel virus has a written-in time limit that stopped

spread of virus on Wednesday.

“I don’t know why anybody would do this. The only reason to

create a virus is to screw with other people’s computers,” said

Chris Latham, an accounting and finance junior.

Latham said he believes he got the virus early Wednesday and

since then his computer system has randomly shut down after running

normal.

“Be very careful about opening an e-mail message with an

attachment, even from people you know,” Nolan said.

Nolan said e-mail users are more likely to open virus-infected

messages because the viruses mimic e-mail names and addresses that

make users believe that they are receiving a legitimate message

from somebody they know.

Characteristics can be seen in the subject lines of the e-mails.

The Bagel virus usually has the word “Hi” and the MyDoom virus has

the word “test” in the subject line.

According www.theage.com, MyDoom was dominating about 10 percent

of the world’s Internet traffic on Wednesday.

While news of the virus did not come until Monday, Noren said

anti-virus software and updates could not be created fast enough to

stop the exponential growth the virus has had all week.

“We here at CSU have been trying to attack it and block it. All

students and faculty must have virus protection,” Noren said.

Noren advised anybody who believes his/her computer may have

been infected to come to the Weber computer lab, where anti-virus

software and help can be provided.

“It’s each individual responsibility to keep their machines

clean,” Noren said.

The huge spread of the viruses has caused other problems at

CSU.

Gross said many individuals are receiving large numbers of

infected e-mails that are not only clogging their inboxes but in

some cases are also putting the students over their quota. This

stops the arrival of any e-mail.

“It seems to be just a pain right now,” Noren said.

Nolan said the focus is not about finding out who is responsible

but reacting to the spread.

Once the virus is under control, Nolan said an investigation

will probably find out who created the viruses but punishment could

depend on what country they originated from.

Noren said MyDoom and Bagel could be representative of the new

era of viruses because it is unusual for there to be multiple

viruses that spread as fast as these did.

“Technology has just changed and (virus protection) is now a

daily part of my job,” Noren said.

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