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Volume 71, Issue 83, Monday, February 6, 2006

News

IT: UH at low risk for worm

Informed users help minimize the odds of being victims of virus 

by MATT COOPER
Senior Staff Writer

The latest computer worm seems to have spared UH thanks to antivirus programs and internet-savvy students and faculty.

The worm, a variant of the MyWife worm, is scheduled to activate on infected computers on the third day of every month. Steve Arnold, a consultant with the Information Technology department, said Friday that no problems were reported and he doesn't expect UH to be hit.

"We have prepared," Arnold said. "We made it through other viruses."

He said that computer users with up-to-date antivirus programs and operating systems should be protected, though he attributed the low amount of reports to growing student and faculty awareness of how computer viruses spread. 

The virus is old-fashioned and requires users to open an e-mail and execute the attached virus by opening an attachment.

He said the worm received so much press that the IT department felt compelled to release an e-mail news flash, even though the risk of infection is relatively low.

Arnold said that users should remain cautious: The virus actives on the third of every month, so the risk of infection is still present. If activated, the virus will attempt to disable antivirus software, delete files and e-mail itself to more users. 

Keeping computers and antivirus programs updated is the best way for students to protect themselves, Arnold said. 

He also warns against opening e-mail from senders you don't know or opening suspicious attachments.

The IT department advises students, faculty and staff to delete suspect e-mails, to install a personal firewall and to make backup files to prevent losing important information. 

For assistance concerning computer worms or viruses on campus, contact the IT department at 713-743-1411, or support@uh.edu.

Send comments to dcnews@mail.uh.edu

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