A computer virus circulating around Queen’s Webmail under the guise of an e-mail greeting card has caused a backlog at Queen’s Information Technology Services.
The sender of the greeting card appears as “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org” with the subject line “You have got a new E-card from your friend!”
Manager of Systems and Operations of IT Services Andrew Hooper said individuals who receive an e-mail like this should delete it immediately without opening the attachment.
Yesterday, Hooper sent out an e-mail alert to all members of the Queen’s community warning them of the virus.
The IT Support Centre (ITSC) is on hand for students and faculty members whose computers become infected.
“[Wednesday] afternoon people started to get infected. During the evening we started blocking, disconnecting infected computers from the network.”
Hooper said last night ITSC disconnected about 25 computers from residences and offices.
“It continued to grow overnight,” he said. “This morning we sent out more notices about it and blocked it within the mail system.
“We’re stopping it from spreading. There is still a risk of it spreading if people open the attachment. It has been difficult to remove. There is a backlog of computers to be cleaned up. Repair is working on a way to speed it up.”
Hooper said individuals who opened the e-mail attachment most likely have an infected computer and will need assistance.
“Their computer is likely infected, at least if it’s a Windows computer. Generally, if you don’t have anti-virus software installed, make sure you do that.”
Hooper said Macintosh computers are less likely to be infected by the virus, but if individuals are using a Windows emulator to run specialized programs, Macintosh computers may be at risk.
“The virus was written just to infect Windows.”
Hooper said if a computer is suddenly slow, this could be a symptom of the virus.
“I don’t know the characteristics of the virus yet. My advice would be to do a live update [of anti-virus software], run a full scan, and if something is reported, then you will need help.”
Hooper said he should be able to identify the virus soon.
“It’s a matter of determining what [anti-virus software] Symantec is calling it. Several names are floating around.”
Hooper said ITSC will be working to rid computers of the virus for at least another week.
“Anytime that you run unsecure software, you’re putting your information at risk,” he said. “We haven’t had one for several years like this. There hasn’t been an e-mail-based one this bad for a while.”
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