Every student should have anti-virus software installed to protect against any possible problems from email or shared files. We recommend that you purchase some anti-virus software, download the latest updates, and then scan your entire PC. The two most popular products are Norton/Symantec and McAfee. IF YOUR VIRUS SOFTWARE IS NOT UP-TO-DATE, IT WILL NOT CATCH NEWER VIRUSES.
Virus Updates and Warnings:
Anti-virus software can be purchased from a number of vendors. Free options are listed below:
Download free version of AVG: AVG Free Edition
'Class' Virus Information
The "Class" macro virus has been detected in some Microsoft Word documents sent by both faculty and students. No document from any source should ever be trusted, and every computer user who uses the Internet or shares files with other users should have virus protection installed on his or her PC.
As long as you have not disabled the macro virus protection built into Microsoft Word, you should be protected from infection by the version of this virus we have seen. (Other "strains" of the same virus are said to be capable of bypassing the virus protection built into Microsoft Word.) If you have an anti-virus product installed with the most recent virus signatures, in most cases that product should also protect you.
If you have macro virus protection enabled in Microsoft Word (a built-in feature), you should receive a warning before opening any document containing a virus. The dialog box should say something like:
The document you are opening contains macros or customizations. Some macros may contain viruses that could harm your computer.
As long as you click the button to Disable Macros, you will be able to open the document without allowing the virus to activate.
Symptoms Of Infection
This section describes the symptoms of a particular strain of the "Class" virus only. There are thousands of other viruses circulating around the world, but this section is focused on one virus.
The "Class" virus that we have seen causes strange behavior in Microsoft Word but is not known to cause other damage. For example, it does not delete files. Cleaning Your PC With An Anti-Virus Product. If you have a commercial virus checker, get the most recent updates and then scan and clean your PC.
Cleaning Your PC Without An Anti-Virus Product
You cannot really clean your PC without an anti-virus product, but you can put your PC in a state where you can safely open documents and prevent viruses from activating.
Before beginning, it is highly recommended that you backup your entire PC or at least your document and Microsoft Office directories. Label the backup to indicate that the files may contain viruses. We recommend that you purchase a commercial anti-virus product as soon as possible and do a full cleanup of your PC.
Using Microsoft Word Safely
This section assumes that you have taken steps to clean your PC and made sure that the built-in macro virus protection in Microsoft Word is active. The information here only applies to the "Class" macro virus that we at CSUDH have seen. There are other macro viruses that are said to be able to bypass Microsoft Word’s built-in protection, and you should have an anti-virus product for a more comprehensive defense.
When you open a Microsoft Word document, it may be safer to start Microsoft Word first and then open the document from within Word. Double-clicking a document in My Computer or Explorer to auto-launch Microsoft Word should still bring up a dialog box if macro viruses are detected, but some experts have said that certain macro viruses can take advantage of the auto-launch feature to bypass macro protection. You may want to detach Word documents from email and save them rather than auto-launching Microsoft Word by clicking on the documents.
If you open a document that contains a virus, you should get a dialog box that looks like this: Warning, the document you are opening contains macros or customizations. Some macros may contain viruses that could harm your computer.
Click the button to Disable Macros, and the document will open without activating the virus. Then from the "File" menu select "Save As". Type in a file name and then go to the "Save As Type" selection, scroll down the list of file types, and select "Word 6.0/95" document format. You will be asked to confirm loss of the macros and you should confirm. This removes the virus from the saved version of the file and will allow you to safely open it in the future. Make sure that you change the "File Type" from "Word Document" to "Word 6.0/95" or you will be saving the virus along with the new file.
After opening a document, or if you suspect Microsoft Word is acting strange, go to the "Tools" menu and select "Options". Look at the "General" tab and make sure macro virus protection is still active. If macro virus protection gets unchecked then you are vulnerable to viruses in documents, so you need to make sure the option remains active.
These are some of the serious past viruses; the only way to protect your machine is by protecting it using Anti-Virus Software.