|Vol. 17, No. 19||Feb. 12, 1998|
FMany faculty, staff and students have received e-mail messages claiming their computers will contract a virus if they receive and read a message with the subject, "Join the Crew." This "virus" does not exist, and the warning is a hoax: A computer cannot contract a virus from a user reading an e-mail message.
Anyone receiving the "Join the Crew" e-mail warning should delete it. More importantly, the hoax should not be perpetuated by sending the message to "everyone you know," as the hoax recommends.
"Join the Crew" is one of many hoaxes circulating on the Internet. In the past two years alone, this campus also has had "outbreaks" of the "Irina," "Penpal Greetings" and "Good Times" virus hoaxes. For more information about known virus hoaxes, consult one of the following web sites:
Do not forward virus alerts to other people without first checking on the validity of the virus. Individuals who receive a virus alert that is not listed at one of the three virus hoax web sites mentioned in this article should contact the IT Help Center at 831-6000 to ask UD staff to assess the validity of the warning.
Users should scan all programs (or executable files) they receive over the Internet for viruses before they use them.
This policy applies to shareware or other programs acquired via the web, ftp or as attachments to e-mail.
A newer type of computer virus-a macro virus-that can affect Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Lotus AmiPro files does exist. Because an infected file can be received as an attachment to an e-mail message, users should be vigilant about checking Word, Excel and AmiPro attachments for viruses before viewing or using them.
For those using a desktop mail reader, the program should not be set to open attached Word, Excel or AmiPro files automatically.
Note: There are no known viruses that attach themselves to other "data" files (e.g., JPEG or GIF images, WordPerfect files, text files, etc.).
Users who think they may have contracted a computer virus should consult the UD web virus page (http://www.udel.edu/topics/virus/) or call the IT Help Center.
The University's anti-virus web pages (http://www.udel. edu/topics/virus/) have been revised.
The pages include information about Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit, a program UD has licensed for use on University computers as well as computers owned by employees and students. The license covers versions for DOS, Windows (3.x, 95 or NT) and Macintosh computers.
The pages explain the differences between types of viruses, as well as information about how to distinguish between real viruses and virus hoaxes (e.g., the "Good Times" hoax that circulates regularly).
Information about downloading and installing the program is available on a separate web page (http://www.udel.edu/topics/virus/drsol/).
But, this web page is accessible only to persons connecting through the University of Delaware network.
-Suzanne Nanis and Sigurd Andersen