Viruses Reach WCU

SirCam and Nimda, two prominent computer viruses, are making their way into computers in WCU residence halls and computer labs, prompting the Computer Center staff to push for expanding the virus protection program used on university owned computers to student computers.

Along with students and their mandatory computers at the start of this semester came SirCam, according to ResNet Coordinator Jason LaVigne.

This virus, sent in mass-mailing quantity, is a worm that attempts to infect users located in the Windows Address Book as well as e-mail addresses found in temporary Internet cached files. The worm can also delete files and/or consume hard disk space by adding text entries continuously. says that the subject of the e-mail is [filename (random)] and the salutation to the body says, “Hi! How are you?” The body of the e-mail could say, “I send you this file in order to have your advice” or “I hope you can help me with this file that I send you” or “I hope you like the file that I sendo you” or “This is the file with the information that you ask for.”

This file could be sent in Spanish, as well.

LaVigne said that students brought computers to Western that were already infected with SirCam, but the effects at WCU were not extensive.

“No real damage was done by SirCam, but it takes a lot of time to locate infected students so we can remove the virus,” said LaVigne.

On September 18, another computer virus named Nimda infected one-third of the computers in 116 Forsyth and 2 or 3 computers in Coulter 320, according to Dixie Lawson, Computer Consultant IV in the Computer Center.

“Anything that was shared between computers was affected,” said Lawson. “We unhooked the infected computers from the network and had it under control in one morning.”

Lawson said that a slowdown on the network was detected, which was the first sign that the virus was affecting campus computers.

Nimda is a virus, an Internet worm that seeks to infect as many users as possible and create traffic to the point that networks are too congested for normal use. says that the Nimda virus has infected 13,266,735 million files.

Lawson said that the two ways of infecting a computer with Nimda are by opening an e-mail or web-site that carry the virus.

“Most of the infections were on the student side because many students have no anti-virus program installed,” said Lawson.

Norton AntiVirus Corporate Edition is running on all WCU Servers and Norton Anti Virus for Exchange is running on the faculty/staff e-mail Servers, according to LaVigne.

“The virus definition files are automatically updated from Symantec’s web-site when there are new files available,” said LaVigne.

Both Lawson and LaVigne noted that students need to have an anti-virus program installed and keep it updated to prevent infections.

“ and are two of the popular and best ones,” said Lawson.

LaVigne said that most anti-virus software companies offer updates free of costs or for a very inexpensive subscription fee.

Software can also be updated by clicking on Update or LiveUpdate when running the anti-virus software on a computer.

Students can contact their RCC (Resident Computer Consultant) or the Computer Center Help Line at extension 7284 for help removing a virus from their computers.