Computer virus infects journalism control room

, Beacon Staff/strong/div

divFor the numerous Apple fanatics at Emerson who enjoy advocating how much more efficient their Macbook laptops are to the PC counterpart, here’s another reason to add to your preach.At 10:53 a.m. Tuesday, a mass email was sent to journalism students informing them of a virus that was present on two of the video servers in the sixth floor broadcast control room. Tim MacArthur, manager of the journalism production center, wrote in the email that the virus–an application called “Spenser NK–could only be transferred to PCs through a USB.

Junior Matt Ulrich, a student manager at the IT Help Desk who deleted the virus from the infected computers, said that when a student inserts their flash drive into the server, the application automatically saves itself onto the USB.

When that flash drive is then plugged into a PC, it automatically transfers onto the computer. The application could not contaminate Macs because it was in .exe format, a common filename extension.

“In the same way something your dog gets, a human can’t, a Mac can’t get an .exe,” said Ulrich, who has been working at the IT Help Desk since his freshman year. “It’s just foreign.”

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Ulrich added that the virus did not originate on the video servers in the control room. He said that those computers cannot access the Internet, eliminating the possibility of it being downloaded. The application also does not damage or harm any computer it infects.

“Basically it’s not so much a virus but an annoying program,” Ulrich said. “Whoever made it has their name on it–probably just a hacker who wanted to get their name out. They developed it just to see if they could, but not have any repercussions.”

For anyone whose USB drive has the “Spenser.exe” file on it, MacArthur advises to erase it and reformat the drive immediately. For any assistance, the IT Help Desk can help remove the virus.

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