Recently, there has been a spate of computer viruses at UMD. In all cases ITSS knows of, these have arrived via attachments to email messages. The standard wisdom to prevent the spread of viruses has been "don't open/trust attachments from people you don't know". This is no longer an adequate guideline as people have been getting infected attachments from legitimate business interactions. The problem usually stems from one person in a mailing list or alias that either does not have anti-virus software or whose software is not current.

Several points can be made regarding this situation:

1) New computers generally come with a very short-lived anti-virus program (3 months or so). Attention should be paid to see that it is either renewed or replaced with a current version.

2) Antivirus software usually includes 1 year's worth of updates in the purchase price. There is generally an UPDATE feature included in the software that will enable you to keep the virus defintion file current. This should be exercised on a weekly basis.

3) POP email clients (e.g. Outlook Express, Eudora) usually will download your email to your computer. Your antivirus software should be configured to scan the email as it comes in. These email clients can be configured to launch attachments automatically. This is an excellent way to become infected if you have not taken precautionary steps. Mulberry can also be a source of infection. If you save the attachment to your hard drive, take a moment and scan the attachment for viruses before you launch the attachment.

4) The UMD Computer Corner sells Norton Anti-virus for $27.00 + tax. This comes with 1 year's worth of updates.


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