Volume 94, Issue 51

Wednesday, November 29, 2000


NEWS

Privatization bill takes another step

Internet introduces new domains

Students angry as Bell changes rate without notice

Campus Briefs

Virus' bark worse than bite - Lovebug briefly reappears on campus

Virus' bark worse than bite - Lovebug briefly reappears on campus

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

While not exactly inducing passion and warmth in the eyes of Western Information Technology Services, the love-bug computer virus has made a brief re-appearance on the Western campus over the last week.

Eric Daugavietis, ITS senior help desk consultant, said various strains of the Loveletter virus are the most contagious on the planet, adding the original virus travelled around the world in five hours.

"We detected a virus. One of our users had somehow infected the system," he said, adding the anti-virus measures in the system mis-detected the virus and failed to automatically clear the system.

Daugavietis said the virus effected the Novell uwo-fsl server, which is primarily used by administration and staff. "On Monday we had a look at the virus and we decided to shut everything down."

He said ITS proceeded to inspect the infected servers and then brought the system back online through their back up server files.

"The only way to ensure a clean system is to shut down every work station and clean them individually," he said. Adding between 600 to 800 computers are on the uwo-fsl server, he added.

He said the virus strain did not affect any student servers, adding the fsl server is primarily used for printer and file sharing among campus administration and staff.

Daugavietis said students should be warned of the dangers of a virus entering their own computer system. "It is an education issue," he added. "Everyone should understand we have anti-virus programs available on the ITS Website."

He said the anti-virus software on the Website is free, adding students should download the anti-virus software periodically, because the ITS software is updated in order to deal with newly discovered computer viruses.

"Some viruses are extremely dangerous and some cause minimal harm," he noted. "If you get an email attachment you didn't ask for, never open that attachment."

Const. Wendy McGowan, of Western's University Police Department, said campus police was on a server which was effected by the current strain of the love virus. "The virus effectively shut down our e-mail capacity, but didn't effect the operating system."

She said ITS came in and checked each of their stations, noting the server was only down for a couple of days.

Jamie Andrews, a Western computer science professor, said viruses will become more common due to the computerization of our workplace.

He said because Microsoft Windows is dominating the world operating system market, it becomes very easy to create a common virus which will infect multiple systems. "Virus writers are exploiting the weaknesses in the software," he added. "If you build a better lock to keep your treasures in, there'll be a smarter burglar who comes along."


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Copyright The Gazette 2000