22 Aug UW-Madison Battles Prolific Computer Virus
MADISON-The University of Wisconsin-Madison is experiencing problems with the “SoBIG.F” e-mail virus and requires campus e-mail users to help contain its spread. This virus and others, which have ravaged computers nationwide, has infected about 2,200 computers on campus and has affected the e-mail operations for all users. UW-Madison officials shut down outside operations of its e-mail system at the height of the virus problem.
The Division of Information Technology (DoIT) has launched a wide-ranging information campaign to diagnose infected machines, repair those that have been affected and prevent any reoccurrence of the problem.
“The virus is spread via e-mail, and once it has infected a computer, it takes over the computer’s e-mail and sends out mass mailings without the user’s knowledge, infecting other computers,” says Annie Stunden, chief information officer and director of DoIT.
SoBIG.F downloads a Trojan onto infected Windows computers that opens the software to be used later for distributing Internet spam — unwanted e-mails and product promotions. SoBIG.F hit home users particularly hard, arriving in an e-mail with an attachment that when opened infects the computer. The virus then sends itself to other victims using a random e-mail address from the address book, making it difficult to trace the worm back to its source. It sends multiple e-mails simultaneously and spreads to other computers on a shared network.
To further contain the spread of the virus, DoIT recommends these steps to all campus users:
Download new anti-virus software, linked from the “What’s New” item on the My UW Portal homepage at http://my.wisc.edu, or get a copy from their departmental technical support staff. Free CD-ROMs with the software can also be obtained through the DoIT Tech Store, 1210 W. Dayton St. The store is open Monday through Friday 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Campus users who own a computer that runs Windows 2000, XP or NT need to download and install Microsoft patches. The Microsoft patches are needed to keep computers from being infected with the Blaster, MSBlast or Lovesan worms. Campus users can get the patches here: http://helpdesk.doit.wisc.edu/page.php?txt=&id=2121. If the Windows system has already been infected, contact the DoIT Help Desk at 608-264-HELP for assistance.
Machines that continue to propagate the virus may be disconnected from the campus network.
UW-Madison users who continue to have questions after following the directions above should visit the DoIT homepage at http://www.doit.wisc.edu or call the DoIT Helpdesk at (608) 264-HELP.