Computer virus has minimal effect on UA
Wednesday September 19, 2001
Officials advise not to open unexpected e-mail attachments
A new computer virus spreading throughout the country has had minimal effect on the UA, CCIT officials said yesterday.
Bill Phillips, a Center for Computer and Information Technology network systems analyst, said computer users can prevent the infection of their computer by simply using common sense.
"From a user standpoint, if you're not expecting an e-mail with an attachment, don't open it," he said.
He also said not to open attachments or download anything off the Internet with an ".exc" in the filename.
He said the university has not experienced any significant problems as a result of the virus, but that the system was slowed down slightly as there were lengthened download times and slowed programs in campus computers.
Phillips said the university's network is already running on full capacity and the lurking virus is taking up unavailable space. As a result, some computer programs took longer to work.
University of Arizona spokeswoman Sharon Kha said the university had received notification of the virus early yesterday morning.
Kha and Phillips said reports linking the virus with last week's terrorist attacks are unfounded.
Phillips said the "Nimda.a" virus was discovered at 7:10 a.m. yesterday and can infect a system in several ways.
He said the virus may come in the form of an e-mail, with an attachment called, "read me.exc."
"Users should not open attachments with executable extensions (which end with .exc)," he said.
He said the virus also infects Internet servers.
"The virus goes in and expels itself in a system," he said. "It then goes into the Internet."
Phillips said the virus may appear on a Web page as an MP3 with a downloadable application. Once downloaded, the computer system becomes infected.
He said CCIT went through the network and disallowed traffic to and from vulnerable computers to prevent transmission of the virus in the university's system.
CCIT will continue to investigate the virus but because it is so new, there is no official cure for the virus.