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03/01/93

CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558

Michelangelo virus due to strike again March 6

STANFORD -- Employees who use an IBM PC, PS/2 or compatible computer should be aware that there is a small chance their computers have been infected with an infamous computer virus.

The "Michelangelo" virus, which is an especially destructive strain, may erase parts of a user's hard drive. This can happen every March 6, which is the famous artist's birthday, according to security officials in the Stanford Data Center.

The computer must be turned on sometime March 6 for the virus to do any damage. Since March 6 falls on a Saturday this year, the risk of any damage is relatively low, according to Bill Bauriedel, the Data Center's security chief.

However, he said, it is simply good practice to run an anti-virus program periodically to check for the presence of one or more viruses. Michelangelo is only one of more than 700 identified viruses that can infect a computer.

"Even though you may not have the Michelangelo virus, your computer may be infected with something else," Bauriedel said. "While probably not as dangerous as Michelangelo, these other viruses should be disinfected as well - once disinfected, they can't spread from your machine to someone else's machine."

Staffers and faculty who have a Forsythe account and use Samson can download an antivirus program called F-PROT. For instructions on how to perform the download, issue these two commands:

USE WYL.GB.SEC.FPROT and PRINT.

Users without a Forsythe account can exchange a blank floppy for the antivirus program either at the consulting office on the second floor of Sweet Hall or at the Information Security Office in Spruce Hall, room F19.

For more information on matters of computer security, contact Bauriedel at 723-9797.

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