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NIMDA VIRUS UPDATE (Released: 09/20/01)

The Nimda computer virus has been spreading rapidly around the world and across this University campus, and we need your help to stop it. It has affected high-profile websites at Microsoft, General Electric, and Yahoo, and has already infected 60 computers at UConn. It can spread through Microsoft Windows computers and servers, and it is very harmful to Windows web servers. It can infect computers through email (with an attachment called "readme.exe"), through websites (which attempt to download the virus to you), and through shared folders that do not have a password.

You may have already noticed the virus' effects if your departmental server was taken down, if a website you attempted to visit was offline, or if a computer in your area had its network access disconnected. Thanks to the quick action of the University ITS Network Security team, UCHC, and others, the initial outbreak of the virus across the network was rapidly contained. However, there is still concern that another outbreak could be triggered by someone accidentally infecting themselves through an incoming email.

The only way to protect yourself, and to help stop the spread of the virus, is to make sure that you have Norton AntiVirus Corporate Edition installed on your computer and you are keeping it updated. The University provides Norton AntiVirus free of charge to faculty, staff, and students (http://software.uconn.edu/NortAV.html). If your department purchased a standard Husky PC, then the Norton AntiVirus software is already installed, however, you need to make sure that when prompted to update the software you select YES. Delaying updates could make yours and others work vulnerable.

There are some reports that this virus interferes with networked printers. The printers are not infected by the virus, they may have just been temporarily disrupted by the amount of scans this virus causes or by problems with the printer's server. Please visit the University ITS security page http://www.security.uconn.edu for detailed information on how to correct the printer problems.

This is a good time for two basic reminders about computer security: do not open any attachments that you were not expecting, even if they are from someone you know, and make sure to update your AntiVirus software once per week. If you are a server or network administrator for your area there are additional steps that you should take to secure your Windows or Unix servers. For more information about the virus, including links to news stories and other recent network security issues, again visit the University ITS security page, http://www.security.uconn.edu.

The University ITS Customer Support Help Desk (486-HELP) is available to answer questions you might have about how to install the virus protection software, how to keep it current, or what to do if you think you have been infected by Nimda.

We thank you for your help.

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