Conficker worm hits University of Utah computers

Apr 12, 2009

(AP) -- University of Utah officials say a computer virus has infected more than 700 campus computers, including those at the school's three hospitals.

University health sciences spokesman Chris Nelson said the outbreak of the Conficker worm, which can slow computers and steal personal information, was first detected Thursday. By Friday, the virus had infiltrated computers at the hospitals, medical school, and colleges of nursing, pharmacy and health.

Nelson says patient data and medical records have not been compromised.

"That's secured in a much deeper way because of the implications," he said.

Nelson said the virus is mainly attacking personal computers and could be siphoning login and password data, and banking information.

Directions for purging the virus from personal computers and equipment like thumb drives, digital cameras and smart phones has been distributed to staff and students.

Information technology staff shut of Internet access for up to six hours at some campus locations Friday so they could isolate the virus. They were expected to work through the weekend to eradicate it from the system.

Mindy Tueller of the university's office of information technology said all faculty and students should take steps to make sure 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."

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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User comments : 5

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axemaster
5 / 5 (3) Apr 12, 2009
Well happily I'm not using a Windows based device!
Arikin
1 / 5 (1) Apr 13, 2009
axemaster, The only reason Macs were not infected is because the virus was made for the Windows OS. Many people could write viruses for Macs but that would not hit a majority sampling.

Security by obfuscation is not security. I also own Macs and Unix machines but always install anti-virus software/packages.
Velanarris
2.5 / 5 (2) Apr 13, 2009
In order to get Conflicker you would have to be living under a rock, or not be able to run updates for over a year.

In either eventuality Univ Utah deserved what they got.
Arikin
not rated yet Apr 14, 2009
Velanarris, yes they should have kept up with their updates. But, remember how many computers have to be updated and how many have USB ports... This is true for any large organization.

But just because you leave your front door of your house unlocked is it ok for someone to walk in and install hidden cameras?
Velanarris
not rated yet Apr 14, 2009
Velanarris, yes they should have kept up with their updates. But, remember how many computers have to be updated and how many have USB ports... This is true for any large organization.
But just because you leave your front door of your house unlocked is it ok for someone to walk in and install hidden cameras?

If you've been warned for 4 years that it was going to happen, and the locks were installed and automated for free then yes, yes it is.

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