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Extension Technology and
Computer Services

 

University of Missouri-Columbia   Extension Technology and Computer Services—ETCS

 
November 1999
  Vol. 16, No. 9



A Technology Newsletter for Extension Specialists

 

 

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Antivirus News
by Charles Baerwald

With the emergence of the BubbleBoy "virus" and its media coverage, people are becoming aware of new types of viruses and their capabilities. BubbleBoy was important, because it infects computers in a different way than previous viruses, not because of the risk of getting it on your computer. New virus types and the recent outbreak of Explore.Zip worm (and subsequent statewide blitz to install the latest version of VirusScan) brings to attention the importance of current antiviral software, despite its time and space consuming nature. Several folks out there are very aware of the file blasting Expore.Zip worm, which in some cases wiped out thousands of Microsoft application files (not nearly that many in Extension).

It's pleasing that many questions have arisen from the field, indicating that people are curious and interested in protecting their computers. For these people, as well as for those who have viruses and need information, there is a new VIRUSinfo folder in UOEshare on Share S:\Mucampus\ETCS\AntiVirus. It includes documentation on some of the most common viruses, how they infect, what they do, and how to get rid of them. For more information on these and other viruses, browse to http://www.nai.com, http://www.symantec.com/avcenter, and http://www.datafelllows.com/v-descs.

Several people have emailed with questions about viruses, like Lump of Coal virus, Wobbler virus, and Win a Holiday _ which turned out to be hoaxes. Hoaxes, like rumors, abound. If you'd like to find out whether a message sent about a dangerous virus is a hoax, send an email to ETCS, OR go to http://kumite.com/myths/home.htm for a list of known hoaxes. The U.S. Dept of Energy also lists virus hoaxes as well as real threats at http://ciac.llnl.gov/ciac/CIACHoaxes.html.

Following is the latest information on McAfee VirusScan from Network Associates. For those installing VirusScan for the first time, you'll be pleased with clarified, revised instructions in UOEshare on S:\Mucampus\ETCS\AntiVirus\VirusScan\Win95-98. As mentioned above, the ETCS staff made virtual visits to every county to install and/or update VirusScan in response to the real threat of Explore.Zip worm so most of you already have the latest installed and configured. If you have questions regarding the configuration or version of VirusScan, refer to the new instructions. Take note that updates of virus definitions are still necessary, which brings us to a few installation notes.

Some of you experienced an error message on the update of virus definition (DAT) files: "Corrupt or missing DAT files...press any key to continue", where pressing any key allows the computer to boot up, and VirusScan finds DAT files without further error messages. This should only happen once and then you can restart as normal.

Another common occurrence after updating is that the Vshield and Scheduler icons disappear from the taskbar. When this happens, the computer needs to be manually restarted after which VirusScan reactivates and makes use of the newly installed definition files. Still others have experienced their computer restarting itself after an "AutoUpdate" takes place _ if they went to lunch with documents open, the documents as well as the computer get shut down. Be aware of when, and if, AutoUpdate is scheduled to run, and take necessary steps to save your data before the update occurs.

"How often should I update?" If you're manually updating virus definitions, as most in the state are (and is recommended by ETCS as most trouble-free), the greatest protection available is by updating once per week. Make it a part of your "computer maintenance" routine (see "Computer House Cleaning" article by Joe Lear in this issue's insert).

One final note: VirusScan is designed to run also from within Microsoft Outlook, and needs to be configured from within Outlook. Check your configuration next time you are in Outlook by going to Tools/E-Mail Scan Properties. Under "Messages to scan", choose "All highlighted messages". Under "Mail attachments to scan" choose "Scan all file attachments". Click "Scan compressed files". Now click on the Heuristics button, and enable heuristics. Also enable "macro and program file heuristics scanning". Click OK, Apply, and OK again.

 

 

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