The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday March 30th

Tantalizing E-mail Sends Virus

Tantalizing E-mail Sends Virus

But UNC officials say the virus, which preys on Kournikova's widespread sex appeal, has caused few problems on campus.

The virus arrives as an e-mail attachment with a subject line "Here you have, ;o)" and contains an attachment named "AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs."

But when users click on the file, they download a virus instead of a picture of the young Russian tennis player.

Symantec, which specializes in virus-protection software, released a protection program for the virus Monday on its Web site,

According to the Symantec Web site, the virus is rated a four on a scale from one to five, with five being the most dangerous, because the "AnnaKournikova" virus is difficult to contain and spreads easily.

But Sherry Graham, Academic Technology & Networks director of response services, said the virus was not a large problem on campus, causing less damage than similar viruses like the "I Love You" virus, which hit thousands of computers worldwide last year.

Both viruses spread through e-mail, using the address book in infected computers to send itself to other users.

Graham said it was hard to know how many students had caught the virus. "I've got three infected messages myself," she said. "I just hit the delete key."

Graham said ATN officials have set up a filter on the UNC servers to keep students from getting the infected message -- blocking about 10,000 e-mails.

Graham said ATN also put up an announcement on its Web page soon after the "AnnaKournikova" bug was discovered, directing users to information about the virus.

She said some of the worst problems occurred when infected users attempted to e-mail the person they received the virus from -- clogging the network and slowing e-mail delivery to a crawl.

She said the virus problem is not as severe as in years past due to computer users' experience dealing with viruses and an increased usage in programs that identify and destroy the infected programs.

"People have put up more blocks on their computers," she said. "They're just smarter now (when dealing with viruses)."

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