Identifying the Threat
Removable media (floppy disks, Zip disks, Jaz cartridges, etc.) and CDs brought onto campus, including shrink-wrapped software from original manufactures and disks from other organizations, bring with them the risk of virus infection. The movement of such media between different departments or campuses may also help to spread a virus. Boot sector viruses which spread via floppy disks are still common. Viruses have been found on CDs, even ones made professionally.
Desktop PCs used at home and laptop PCs are a potential source of virus infection. Laptop computers loaned out by IT travel all around the world and can be considered possible carriers of unwanted viruses when returned. Many students, faculty and staff have their own laptops and the mobility of these computers increases opportunity to pick up a virus. Floppy disks and CDs used in laptops may not have been checked for viruses. And the employee or student might not be the only person using a mobile PC because of spouses, children and friends. So, machines which are not under the constant control of IT may be more exposed to virus infection than those which are under our direct control.
E-mail systems provide an effective way for viruses to spread. It is not possible to become infected by a virus simply by reading a text message in spite of the many virus hoaxes you may have seen. You can safely ignore warnings like "Do not open e-mail called 'Good Times' or it will erase your disk" and so forth. Messages by themselves cannot do this. However, e-mail attachments are a potential threat. Since the advent of macro viruses, which infect documents and spreadsheets, e-mail has become a very effective mechanism for spreading viruses. If a document or spreadsheet is infected, it can become widespread very quickly by being attached to an e-mail message. If users are able to send and receive e-mail via the Internet the threat becomes even greater.
Use of the Internet is a further potential source of infection. Since the campus has direct access to the Internet (including America Online, the World Wide Web, etc.) you are able to download a vast range of material ¿ all potentially infected. Any file downloaded could contain a virus.