Conficker Worm Hits University of Utah Computers

Published April 12, 2009

| Associated Press

University of Utah officials say a computer virus has infected more than 700 campus computers, including those at the school's three hospitals.

University health sciences spokesman Chris Nelson said the outbreak of the Conficker worm, which can slow computers and steal personal information, was first detected Thursday. By Friday, the virus had infiltrated computers at the hospitals, medical school, and colleges of nursing, pharmacy and health.

Nelson says patient data and medical records have not been compromised.

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"That's secured in a much deeper way because of the implications," he said.

Nelson said the virus is mainly attacking personal computers and could be siphoning login and password data, credit card numbers and banking information.

Directions for purging the virus from personal computers and equipment like thumb drives, digital cameras and smart phones has been distributed to staff and students.

Information technology staff shut of Internet access for up to six hours at some campus locations Friday so they could isolate the virus. They were expected to work through the weekend to eradicate it from the system.

Mindy Tueller of the university's office of information technology said all faculty and students should take steps to make sure they are protected. The virus does not infect Macs.

"It can do a lot of bad things," Tueller said. "Every university member should be concerned about this if they're using Windows-based devices."

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