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Computer viruses spread via email at SMC

| Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Today, Saint Mary’s students received several emails from faculty and staff with links containing viruses. These emails were followed up quickly, as administrators warned students about opening the emails.

Last week, a single email was sent out from an administrator’s account and subsequent warning emails were sent to students to delete the email immediately.

Michael Boehm, chief information officer, said IT has blocked the website links included in the infected emails to prevent students from inadvertently going to those sites.

“When a particular virus is identified the security firms offer updates immediately to address them. … We update our virus protection databases on a daily basis,” Boehm said.

He also said this issue is not unique to Saint Mary’s.

“Higher ed computers are set up, by design, to promote easy access and flexibility,” Boehm said. “This makes college and university systems prime targets for virus attacks.”

Boehm said IT is doing everything possible to keep students’ account safe from hackers and viruses, but students should avoid opening any emails with suspicious links.

“If [students] do accidentally select that link they should immediately change their passwords,” he said.

Boehm said it is a good idea for students to keep their virus protection software current and updated to prevent threats online.

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About Haleigh Ehmsen

A senior at Saint Mary's, Haleigh is majoring in Communication Studies and English Literature & Writing. She serves as the Saint Mary's editor and enjoys coffee, guacamole and good books.

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