Virus disrupts e-mail service

A virus has slowed GW e-mail service and infected more than 100 students and staff computers since Tuesday, officials said.

GW Internet security officials have neutralized about 117,000 e-mails containing the SkyNet.T virus, but could not prevent the infection of at least 111 computers, said Krizi Trivisani, director of Systems Security Operations.

She said the computers were infected because their users had either used a non-GW mail account or opened virus-laden e-mails before the University updated its security filters Tuesday afternoon.

The virus, which uses Internet address books to send out thousands of e-mails across the GW server, has caused hours-long message delivery delays that students said they have found increasingly frustrating.

Graduate student Michelle Elfman said the delay has impeded her ability to work on a group project.

“When this situation happens, basically people were not getting the e-mails … which caused lots of communication difficulties and flared tempers,” she said.

Other students said the upsurge in e-mails has only been a minor nuisance.

“It’s annoying … because it fills up my (inbox) quota, but it’s not going to hurt (the computer) or anything,” junior Autumn Moran said.

Trivisani said she expected the deluge of messages to taper out by Thursday.

She said GW has begun notifying students whose computers have been infected and will be supplying them with updated virus eradication software.

Trivisani urged students not to open messages from unfamiliar senders.

While the University is filtering the viruses, students will still see their inboxes swell with neutralized messages, and may get notifications that e-mails they don’t recall sending could not be delivered.

The notifications do not imply that students’ computers are infected, but signifies that their e-mail addresses have been “spoofed,” or taken from an infected computers’ address book, Trivisani said.

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