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On-campus Apple computers manage to avoid recent “Flashback” virus

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IT Services, through its SecureIT campaign, encourages students to practice safe and secure computing.
Tips include:

1. Make sure your personal firewall is turned on.
2. Perform regular operating system updates and software updates. 3. These updates often include security patches.
4. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
5. Upgrade to the latest version of your browser and take advantage of the security features available.

SOURCE: IT Services

Since the release of a Macintosh Java update, a virus has affected more than 600,000 Apple computers. But MSU IT Services communications manager Beth Bonsall said the virus has not affected computer labs across the MSU campus.

The update was released on April 3, and was supposed to fix a security flaw but instead, the “Flashback” virus was able to exploit the flaw and download itself to gain access to information on the computers.

“Campus computer labs have had no problems with Apple malware,” Bonsall said. “(We) use current anti-virus and system-locking software on all computers.”

Java is a programming language and computing platform that runs utilities and games, according to the Java website.

Yesterday, Apple released a new Java update called “OS X Lion 2012-003” to remove the “Flashback” malware.

Apple has gained a reputation of not being able to get viruses, but that is not true, said Ethan Stout, a network engineer at Spartan Tech Center, 228 Abbot Road.

“(Macs) are just as vulnerable as a PC to malware, spyware and adware,” Stout said. “It just depends on user habits and how they surf the internet.”

Stout said the reason people believe Macs are virus-free is because Macs aren’t as common as PCs and therefore there are fewer Mac viruses.

“If you’re a programmer or hacker, would you want to write a virus for 90 percent of people using PCs or the 5 percent who have Macs?” Stout said. “However, now more and more people are switching to Macs, so the spotlight is more on them, and you will start to see more viruses pop up.”

Chinese sophomore Charlie Wilshire said despite the potential for more viruses, he still stands by his Mac.

“I run my own anti-virus searches monthly (so I don’t get viruses),” Wilshire said. “I’m also particular about the websites I visit.”

Although Bonsall said she hasn’t seen the virus affect any computers on campus, she did have one student come in worried about the virus.

The student ended up not having the virus, but Bonsall said students should practice safe and secure computing.
Some tips Bonsall provided were to make sure personal firewalls are on and perform regular operating system updates and software updates.

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