Viruses ooze onto campus

Information Technology Services recorded over 46,000 infected e-mail messages a day at the peak of last week's national MyDoom virus outbreak, receiving on average about 200 to 300 infected e-mail messages a day according to Kathy Lang, ITS chief information officer.

ITS is combating this epidemic by warning the faculty, staff and students through campus news briefs with the help of the Office of Public Affairs and by closely monitoring e-mails throughout the eMarq system. ITS has also teamed up with Residence Life to display a slide show about virus protection on the closed circuit television station in all the residence halls.

Lang said the virus has not yet adversely affected any Marquette systems.

"So far the effect on our campus has been minimal," Lang said. "Thanks to eMarq we are deleting this virus as it enters our system. Additionally, most of our networks are very robust and can handle this level of traffic. The major effect most users will see is slower network speeds."

Some students said ITS had dealt with the virus problem effectively, though they were still cautious with their e-mails.

"I try to update my computer whenever I can," freshman Tara Cepon said.

"I just have McAffee and it does everything for me," sophomore Brandon Renner said. "We haven't had any problems with it yet, so that's good. The internet's slow, though."

"I'm just trying to stay informed and then just be cautious about e-mail," sophomore Amanda Michel said. "I think (ITS is) doing a good job. I've gotten e-mails from them before. Anything they can do to keep us informed and to keep the system running is good."

MyDoom is the main virus in this outbreak. It takes up a lot of bandwidth, slowing down the local and Internet connections, according to Lang. It makes use of eMarq's resources by prompting it to send excess e-mails. It also forces infected machines to deny services of some Internet companies.

According to a press release, students, faculty and staff should install McAfee antivirus software, which are available at the ITS website,

The press release also urges that e-mails with attachment titled "virus-removed," or messages labeled "undeliverable" should be deleted.

"Using eMarq, running an anti-virus program and keeping your operating system up to date is the best protection for all users," Lang said. "All PC users must also keep the virus definition files up to date since every new virus requires a new definition file."

The latest MyDoom outbreak is not the first computer virus epidemic to hit campus. Last year, the SoBig.F virus hit Marquette and last September the MSBlast worm virus got on to the eMarq computer system.

"Viruses are a fact of life with technology," Lang said. "ITS support across the world has been changed because of the increase in virus issues. Then again, ITS is constantly changing so it's just one more technological issue we deal with on a daily basis."

A virus is at its basic form a small part of a computer code. It is typically written to attack specific individuals or organizations, which is a crime punishable by law.

According to CNET, Microsoft has offered $250,000 for the capture of the individual or group who released MyDoom last Thursday, because the virus seems to be targeting the computer giant.