UPDATE - IT warns about new virus for computers
February 2, 2009 8:06 PM
The SF State Division of Information Technology sent out an alert email last week about a new spreading virus/worm [ called Conficker that continues to target the campus community with phishing attempts aimed at capturing personal and sensitive information.
"Conficker has many security experts concerned because [of] its likely connection with organized crime and because it has proliferated so quickly," wrote SF State's Information Security Officer K. Mig Hofmann in an e-mail. "The overall population of users with unpatched systems is high which means the virus/worm has great opportunity amongst a population of users."
There is an increase in student accounts with stolen or "lifted" ids and passwords, which are used to break into email accounts, but it is unknown how many students are affected, said Hofmann.
"Its full potential is not yet known," stated Hofmann. "The most common behavior is that it prevents anti-virus software from running and detecting it in the first place."
According to Hofmann, Conficker is known to install keyloggers and attempt guessing at passwords. Students need to take preventative measures given the unexplained increase in their account credentials being used by hackers, possibly due to students' passwords being the same on other online services, he said.
"The worm/virus is good at avoiding detection and moving from system to system and onto USB drives to hide," Hofmann said. "Many students mistakenly believe that Macintosh computers are immune to such attacks. Although this is another attack focused on Windows based machines, there are viruses and malware targeting the Apple platform."
For more information on protection against Conficker, visit the IT Web site.
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