Over the last week the Mac community has been dealing with the first major virus outbreak to affect OS X. These viruses take advantage of a vulnerability within the Java engine of the Mac and allow a virus to be installed on a computer by simply visiting a website that is infected. Apple has released a patch for the Java vulnerability along with a removal tool that aids in the removal of known variants of the virus.
All Mac users are highly encouraged to:
- Ensure their OS X operating system is up-to-date. To do this, click the Apple icon in the upper left-hand corner of your computer and select Software Update. Be sure to install all updates.
- Ensure they have an antivirus software package installed on their Mac. K-State does provide antivirus software to all faculty/staff and students at no cost to the individual. To get K-State’s antivirus software, go to www.k-state.edu/its/antivirus.
Presently there is not a good way to find out on your own if your computer is infected with this virus. K-State is actively watching for infected computers on the campus network. If a computer is found to be infected, the computer’s Internet access will be blocked.
The best way to determine if your computer is infected is also the best way to prevent infection. Install the Java updates by running Software Update. If during the installation process you get a message that says that your computer was infected but it has been cleaned, this means that your computer had a known variant of the virus but was “cleaned” during the update process. If the update installs with no pop-up messages, this indicates that it was not infected with a known variant of the virus.
If your computer is infected or you believe that it is infected with this virus, contact your department support person or the IT Help Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org, 785-532-7722) for assistance. With this current virus outbreak, departmental computers that are found to be infected will need to be reformatted and have the operating system and applications reinstalled.
For personal computers, the same process is encouraged.
The reason for the tough handling of this virus is the way that it installs itself, which makes it difficult to find all of the possible things that the virus may have done to the computer. The only way to ensure that it is removed is to reformat and reinstall everything.