This is a great place to keep yourself informed on the latest news on computer viruses that may affect your computer here at WCU or even at home. If you have any questions about computer viruses, please feel free to contact IT Help Desk, x3350.
Source: Sophos Anti-Virus
Information Services has deployed the Command Anti-Virus software package on all faculty and staff computers across campus. This software has also been installed in all of the general access computing labs. Periodic updates to the software are installed to prevent infection from new strands of computer viruses. These updates will be deployed remotely via Winstall software.
Computer viruses were originally created as harmless programs that would do something amusing and then disappear. A virus program contains instructions to initiate some sort of "event" that affects the infected computer. Each virus has a unique event associated with it. These events and their effects can range from harmless to devastating. For example:
There are many types of computer viruses including file viruses, boot sector viruses and Trojan Horse programs.
Often, a user isn't aware that his or her computer is infected with a virus until the virus executes its unique event, such as displaying an unusual message or damaging a file. It is hard for people to detect viruses because they usually don't display symptoms prior to the event taking place.
However, some viruses will provide early clues that they exist, such as:
While there are still viruses that do not harm or destroy, many have become destructive in their intent. Consequently, anti-virus software is compulsory for every computer on campus. By following these few simple guidelines, the risk of a virus attack can be reduced dramatically.
If you receive an e-mail attachment that your anti-virus software flags, delete it immediately. It is a good idea to play it safe with attachments in general and not open any that aren't from a trusted source. If you receive an e-mail message with an attachment containing a virus you will not infect your system as long as you do not open the attachment.
If you get a virus on your University computer, or if your computer seems to be operating abnormally, please do the following:
A Help Desk Consultant will assist you with scanning and removing the virus.
To verify that your PC has the Command Anti-Virus running, look in the lower right hand corner of your desktop. You should see the Command icon in the system tray.
Although we cannot provide anti-virus software or support for your home PC, it is essential to provide protection for that equipment as well. Provided for your convenience are the top four anti-virus program web sites.
Copyright © 1997 Network Solutions, Inc. This material may be quoted or reproduced provided appropriate credit is given and copyright notice is retained.
The term Virus is used by many people to mean many things. In computers, a Virus is a program or piece of a program that executes on a victims computer without the knowledge of the victim. There are 4 types of computer viruses, File, Boot, Macro, and Network viruses.
File viruses infect real programs that are installed in the computer, create file doubles, or uses "features" that are built into the system. Boot viruses infect the computer's disk drive where the computer gets instructions on how to start up the computer. Macro viruses are stored in documents, spreadsheets, or other files of popular packages such as Microsoft Word. Finally, network viruses spread themselves over the local network or over the Internet using protocols such as email.
One virus could actually be designed using one or more of the above virus types. The virus spreads itself based on the type of virus. The viruses have multiple methods of "living" inside a computer. TSR virus will stay in the computers memory while the computer is running. These viruses tend to intercept commands and messages the computer is processing. Stealth viruses are designed to hide themselves from the victim. Polymorphic and Self-Encrypting viruses are harder to detect. These viruses change themselves every time they execute. This makes it difficult for virus scanners to look for a virus's "fingerprint."
Finally, all viruses have some type of destructive capability. Some could actually be harmless. Other viruses use up a small amount of computing resources. Dangerous viruses may seriously disrupt computer use. Very Dangerous viruses may do just about anything to the victim's computer, including deleting files, erasing hard-drives, or change how programs work.
If your computer did not come equipped with a virus scanner or your if your virus scanner is very old, visit the IT Help Desk Sophos Anti-Virus page (WCU Students & Employees only) or visit Download.com Antivirus Software for Windows page. A list of virus scanners are available to download. Most of these virus scanners are on a thirty day trial basis. After the trial period, they may require you to uninstall the virus scanner or you are always given the option to purchase the software.
If you currently own a virus scanner, you may have the option to update it. Updating your virus scanner downloads all new virus information to your computer to help protect your files from the newest viruses.