A computer virus masquerading as party photos from a friend hit the University harder than the rest of the nation early this week.

The “My Party” virus spreads when users double-click an e-mail attachment named “www.myparty.yahoo.com.” The virus, which filled inboxes Sunday and Monday, is considered non-destructive and was programmed to replicate itself only between Jan. 25 and yesterday.

Some students were deceived by the attachment”s name. “I thought it might have something to do with someone I knew,” said LSA junior Lee Krefman. “I screwed over a lot of my friends.” Krefman said he received between 50 and 100 e-mails.

“We probably saw more of it than a lot of others did,” said Bruce Burrell, the leader of the University”s Virus Busters, a division of Information Technology Central Services that keeps track of viruses on University computers. “It appears that U-M was the first to report it to the anti-virus vendors,” Burrell said.

The virus e-mailed itself to every entry in the victims” Microsoft Windows Address book and Outlook Express database. Macintosh users and those who use Pine or Mulberry were immune.

The Virus Busters team reported the bug to McAfee and other anti-virus vendors when they discovered it late Sunday. The University uses McAfee software to protect its computers from viruses.

“The majority of the e-mails we received on Sunday were from universities,” said Vincent Gullatto, director of the anti-virus lab at McAfee. Gullatto said McAfee had developed an update for their software to stop the virus within hours. McAfee classified “My Party” as a medium-risk virus.

The virus was distributed over a variety of large e-mail lists at the University including lists maintained by the history department and the Michigan Union”s Arts and Programming Board. Burrell noted that while widespread, the virus is not particularly destructive.

“In general we”ve done very well here at the University,” said Burrell. “We don”t see this very much.”

Burrell said the best way to avoid infection from viruses like “My Party” is not to open attachments from unsolicited emails. He noted that some newer operating systems can make viruses harder to remove.

Reuters news service reported Monday that experts suspect the virus was created in Russia, because it does not infect computers using Cyrillic or Russian character keyboards.

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