New viruses plague Bowdoin computers
Joining the long list of networks that have been attacked, Bowdoin has recently been struck by a severely disabling and widespread computer virus--W32.Blaster.Worm--that continues to ravage the College's network. Technicians at the Reach Helpdesk have been receiving waves of new laptops and desktop service requests. Although the cure for this virus is a fairly straightforward patch available from the Microsoft website, the computers keep coming in as the worm keeps bouncing from machine to machine.
Computer users will know if their systems are infected if an error message is displayed saying that RPC has terminated. Those whose computers have been infected with the worm should immediately update their computer or seek assistance at the IT Helpdesk before the virus makes its way to the next computer.
In addition to rebooting some systems continuously within various timeframes, people may be also denied access to the network, as the network may shut down certain ports so as to avoid further dissemination of the virus.
An especially dangerous aspect of this worm is that it requires no action on the users part to infect the system. Unlike many other viruses, users need not open an email attachment or perform a similar action to activate the worm. Being connected to the network (that is, just having a computer plugged into the internet) is enough for this blaster worm to infect a computer. Furthermore, any system that is connected to a network and has not attained the appropriate patch from Windows can acquire and spread the virus.
Information on how to equip a system against the virus or how to scrub the worm from one's system can be found on the Microsoft website (www.microsoft.com) under Downloads and System Updates. Those unsure about how to proceed should bring their laptop to the Reach Helpdesk (x5050) or make an appointment for a Reach consultant to come to their dorm rooms for desktop service.
Computer users do not have to move to rural Oregon to avoid computer viruses. Having an up-to-date anti-virus program (Sophos is available at the IT website, www.bowdoin.edu/it) and making sure Windows software is updated regularly is enough to keep any system virus-free.
As of now, an estimated 30 percent of small businesses have been affected
by the Blaster Worm, around the same amount of PC owners affected by the
previous Worm So Big virus. Computers all around the school have fallen
victim to the worm--including those at the Orient--leaving a good portion
of the student body with little more than an expensive paper weight on
their desks. Beyond the steps described above, the only sure way to avoid
these Windows viruses is to make the switch to a Linux or Macintosh system-or
just grab a pen and paper.