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Virus Hits University Computers

April 13, 2009

A computer virus has infected over 700 campus computers, including campus hospital computer at the University of Utah, according to the University’s officials.

Chris Nelson, University health sciences spokesman, said that the outbreak of the Conficker worm, which slows down computers and steals personal information, was first detected Thursday.  Friday, the virus had already infiltrated computers at the hospitals, medical school, and colleges of nursing, pharmacy and health.

According to Nelson, personal data and medical records have not been compromised.

“That’s secured in a much deeper way because of the implications,” he said.

The virus is mainly attacking personal computers, and could also be siphoning login and password data, credit card numbers and bank information, said Nelson.

Directions for getting the virus off the computers and equipment like thumb drives, digital cameras and smart phones have been distributed to staff and students.

Internet access was shut off for up to six hours at some campus locations by information technology staff on Friday, that way they could isolate the virus.  The staff is expected to work through the weekend to eradicate it from the system.

Mindy Tueller, who is apart of the university’s information technology staff, said that all faculty and students should take steps to make sure that they are protected.  The virus does not infect Macs.

“It can do a lot of bad things,” Tueller said. “Every university member should be concerned about this if they’re using Windows-based devices.”

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