Unprotected personal computers put UTSA network at risk

(Aug. 20, 2003)--Your unprotected personal computer may put the UTSA computer network at risk. The University of Texas at San Antonio has taken steps to protect the personal computers on its network from attacks by computer viruses and worms.

If you connect a desktop or laptop PC to the UTSA network, you should ensure that your PC is secure.

How do you know if your computer is infected? Some symptoms are:

  1. Your friends tell you that you have sent them e-mail with viruses. A virus is malicious computer code usually spread via e-mail. Many viruses send copies of themselves to all of the contacts in your e-mail address book. Some viruses will attack and delete files on your hard drive.
  2. Your computer reboots when you haven’t told it to. A computer worm does not require any user intervention -- your PC may be infected through an open port. A symptom of the recent LovSAN/Blaster worm is the automatic rebooting of a PC after a message is displayed about the Windows RPC (Remote Procedure Call) feature.

If your computer is infected, here is what you should do:

  • Make sure your Windows operating system has been updated. Microsoft releases service packs and patches designed to fix security flaws. Keeping your version of Windows current increases the security of your PC. Read about Microsoft security and how to protect your PC. Read more at PC Magazine.
  • Install an anti-virus software program and update it on a regular basis. Most viruses are spread through e-mail messages. Clicking on an infected attachment can spread a virus that can cripple your PC or spread it to hundreds of other computers. If possible, configure your anti-virus software to accept automatic virus definition updates from the software company.
  • If you suspect your PC is infected, scan your PC for viruses. Check your software documentation for more information. Download the fix program from your software vendor. Some anti-virus software companies like McAfee offer a free Web-based service that can scan your PC for viruses.
  • Do not open suspicious e-mail attachments. Make sure your anti-virus software is set to automatically scan all incoming e-mail. Also, if you use Instant Messaging (IM) software or if you download music from Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks like KaZaa, be aware that they can be used to spread viruses.
  • Activate your Internet Connection Firewall (ICF). Turning on your firewall can eliminate annoying, and possibly destructive, traffic from the Windows Messenger Service. Windows Messenger is intended to be used by computer network supervisors to broadcast important information, but it is now being used by unscrupulous spammers and hackers.

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