There appears to be an epidemic of MSN-bourne viruses plaguing LFC students.Â Perhaps more tragic than that people are gullible enough to download these viruses is that once infected, no-one who I have talked to has known how to remove them.
The virus itself (technically a ‘worm‘ in virus terminology) works by hijacking your MSN client and sending a message to your contacts to the tune of:
“OMG, is this you?! :p [download link]”
The link points to what appears to be an image file on some funny pictures website; however, the link redirects to a .pif file which self-replicates and attempts to further spread itself to your contacts, who download it and… repeat ad infinitum.
If you have fallen victim to this, you could always try this free online virus scan, Housecall, from Trend Micro. The online application is very straightforward and, being written in Java, works on the more secure Firefox web browser. It works on Mac and Linux OS, too… not that Mac or Linux users would realistically need it.
Housecall, although excellent for a web-based app (I first used it about four years ago) is not ideal – you should really have some form of dedicated antivirus software installed on your system.Â Popular commercial software comes from companies such as Norton or McAfee, but personally, having used both commercial software and the free alternatives, I recommend AVG Anti-Virus (free edition) for your virus-busting needs as it is automated, unobtrusive and very effective.Â It can also be set up to scan every file imperceptibly before it is opened to check for nasties.
For those of you looking for Firewall protection, I recommend ZoneAlarm Personal – another free program that I have personally used and sworn by for years.