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University Warns Of E-mail Scam

by Tricia Sangalang
News Staff Writer
April 25, 2007

The university issued a campus notice Wednesday about an e-mail scam alert after early morning reports of suspicious e-mails received by individuals both on and off campus.

A representative from the University Relations Office confirms various sources informed the university hackers have sent “malware” - infected e-mails claiming to have footage of last week’s shootings.

Malware is unwanted software that is designed to damage a computer system without the owner consenting.

According to the campus notice, posted on Virginia Tech News, the e-mails carry a picture of the gunman and a link to a movie website that has footage of the shootings.

“Clicking on the link,” it states, “downloads a malicious screensaver file which installs a banking spyware Trojan.”

A Trojan is destructive program that appears to be a harmless application, and unlike viruses, does not replicate itself.

This particular Trojan tries to steal passwords, usernames or other information from online banking users, according to the campus notice.

“Do not open, read, reply to, or open links included in any e-mail of this type,” the notice states in bold letters.

The representative from University Relations said e-mails that are sent by the university would come from the University Relations Office, Communications Network Services (CNS), the Graduate Student Services Office (GSSO) or the Dean of Students Office (for undergraduates).

“It’s standard and smart practice not to open e-mails from unknown senders,” she said.

For more information on computer security, visit www.antivirus.vt.edu.