Saturday, March 1, 2014

Oooooooooooh, those Viruses

The Schenk LMC was attacked by viruses this week. Even the circulation computer was infected. While this was certainly an inconvenience maybe there are some lessons to be learned.

1. There is always a risk with checking personal email accounts at school. Not only is there a risk of home / work data contamination, as in our recent experience, if your home email account is compromised it can affect several computers on the network.

2. If you do check your personal email you need to make sure they are safe from viruses. MMSD uses a program called Sophos that checks our computers for viruses. They offer a decent set of security tools for free, please use them.

3. Most malware starts with a click from an email or Facebook. If you get that email about an Aunt you never knew leaving you loads of cash, don't click the link. Much malware can be prevented with common sense.

4. Gmail recently changed a long held default. If you click the cog and then settings make sure "ask before displaying external images" is checked. This will keep email as it was intended a text only medium. Displaying images or HTML view makes it very easy for malware to be executed without any action on your part.

5. On a recent tech show it was stated that 90% of all viruses or malware were Java exploits. The same show stated that 70% of goverment and businesses were using very outdated versions of Java. As a district we are too dependent on programs that use Java.  It would not surprise me if the LMC viruses found a Java exploit. The first thing I do to secure my computers at home is to turn off Java in my internet settings.