‘Hi’ virus attacks campus

The virus that caused the Internet problems on Tuesday is known as a virus to most, but junior lab consultant Matthew Lackore said there’s more to it than just that.

The problem is really a worm and rather than trying to copy itself on a local computer as a virus does, it spreads itself to other computers primarily through e-mail, he said.

“This one is particularly successful in afflicting so many people,” Lackore said.

The worm was rated as causing medium damage and high distribution by the Symantec Corporation, a world leader in Internet security technology.

The damage component measures the amount of harm that a given threat might inflict. This measurement includes clogging e-mail servers, deleting or modifying files, releasing confidential information and compromising security settings.

The e-mail received by many campus users Tuesday had the subject “Hi” and sender “Eugenio Pinero,” with a display window reading, “How are you? When I saw this screen saver, I immediately thought of you. I am in a harry, I promise you will love it!”

Lackore said the attachment cannot be executed by viewing the message in the preview pane. The attachment must be executed to begin delivering its payload. Once opened as an e-mail attachment, Lackore said the worm sends itself to the addresses included in that user’s personal outlook file. Lackore said no one is sure where the worm had originated but said there is a lot of speculation that it came from France. It’s primarily an e-mail virus, he said, but has found its way to instant messenger and various on-line chat programs.

“Basically doing anything with attachments will give you the virus,” he said.

Sophomore Joe Braun said the virus was only in the university system for one day without a fix, which can be downloaded to help rid the system of the worm.

“Anything less than wiping it out of the hard drive will fix it,” he said.

He said the worm created a glitch in many user’s Internet connection, causing the machine to freeze or crash. “It seems to be pretty much under control,” he said. “It’s not really spreading.”