‘Blaster worm’ virus slows QU computers

By on September 11, 2003

When you think of a worm, do you think of a slimy little insect that lives in the dirt, or a nasty computer virus that has been slithering its way through the Quinnipiac University community?

The MSblaster worm has been infecting unprotected computers around campus and has been causing the entire network to run extremely slowly.

The worm has been found to affect Microsoft Operating Systems such as Windows NT4, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

According to Microsoft, a worm is a form of a virus that spreads without user action and makes copies of itself and sends them through networks.

A worm consumes memory and causes a computer to stop responding.

Students may get hit with the worm and not even realize what is happening to their computer.

“I was doing some research for a paper, when all of a sudden a box popped up on my screen and started counting down till when my computer would shut itself off” said sophomore Jenna Nechamen. “I felt helpless when I was watching it count down, because I read the e-mails over the summer about how to protect my computer and I thought I downloaded the patch, but I guess it didn’t go through because I still got the worm.”

Users may receive error messages regarding “RPC/DCOM” or “Remote Procedure Call”, as well as having their computer randomly rebooting or shutting down and unusual sluggish performance or delayed boot up or shutdown.

Users may also see a box that says System Shutdown, and it will count down the time until your computer shuts itself off.

Freshman Ross Diamond, looked at the lighter side of the attack.

“I think that it is a virus that was one heck of a good joke,” he said. “The fact that it just inconvenienced people instead of destroying people’s hard drives made it a more acceptable virus.”

Huge lines of students have been gathering outside the Quinnipiac University Help Desk in Tator Hall to get their computers fixed.

“The majority of the problems that have been coming in have been the worm,” said senior Tyler Noyes, who is a staff member of the Help Desk. “We’ve been able to fix most of the problems by updating the patch, but it’s been hectic here.”

Noyes believes the problem will be ongoing for at least another month or so.

Pete Gallay, a sophomore and also a staff member of the Help Desk believes the worm is not as serious as most people may first think.

“It is an easier problem to fix than most people think,” he said. “People just need to take the steps to update their computers and try the hardest they can to protect their systems.”

It is strongly suggested that the Microsoft security patch is installed to prevent the worm from hitting your computer. Users need to go to Microsoft Window Updates and scan for the latest updates to protect their system.

If students run into any problems or if they have the worm and do not know what to do, feel free to visit the university’s Help Desk, or dial H-E-L-P (x 4357) for further assistance.


About Ellen Schwartz