Beware: The Lovebug is Back

Posted: September 6, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Staff members of University Computing and Information Systems (UCIS) have recently found a new version of the “I-love-you” virus on several George Mason computer systems.

Traveling through cyberspace as a file titled VBS.LoveLetter.AC, the virus deletes the contents of files located on shared and home drives (S and H) and slows down computer applications accessed from Novell file servers. The virus sends itself to e-mail addresses in the Microsoft Outlook address book and enters Internet chat rooms through a popular application called mIRC.

How do you know if your computer system has already been infected?

  1. The virus appends the extension “vbs” to each file whose contents it has deleted. For example, a file titled “monthlyreport.doc” would become “monthlyreport.doc.vbs.” (However, files with .mp2 and .mp3 extensions will merely be hidden from the user’s view and not actually destroyed.)
  2. A slow-running application or one that does not run at all may be a symptom that the virus is affecting the server you use.

How do you protect your files against the virus?

  1. Don’t open e-mail attachments titled “VBS.LoveLetter.AC,” and be extremely careful when opening any e-mail attachments, especially if you are not expecting a file from someone. So far, the virus has been easy to detect because its title is easily recognized, but copycat versions may alter the name of the file. If you receive an attachment from someone, contact the sender and verify that he or she intended to send you a file.
  2. If you use Microsoft Outlook to send and receive e-mail, consider switching right away to Netscape Messenger, which UCIS is slowly phasing in across the university as the standard e-mail system for George Mason users. The UCIS Support Center can help you set up Netscape Messenger.
  3. Install Norton AntiVirus software on your system. The university owns a site license that allows George Mason users to install it on their computer systems at work and at home. Detailed instructions for obtaining the software are located here.
  4. Update your Norton AntiVirus software frequently. If you haven’t updated the software in the last few days, your version of the software won’t detect this new virus. Updating is easy. If you use a PC, click on the start button and select “Programs” from the menu. Then click on “Norton AntiVirus” from the list of programs. A menu will appear to the right. Click on LiveUpdate, which should be the first item on the menu. Follow the instructions from there.

For more information, contact the UCIS Support Center at x38870.

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