The Spearhead

Aslin Virus

Adrian Maddox, Editor

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Employees of Columbia Public Schools walked into the Aslin administrative building October 3 with no fear for their laptops. However, as the day went on, computers became infected by a virus spread from an email.

The Aslin building is an office space for administrative figures and support staff within CPS. The virus began to spread throughout the individual faculty computers, becoming a contagious virus. Michelle Baumstark, Community Relations Director for CPS, described how computers first became infected. Baumstark said, “The virus was in email quarantine and someone accidentally released it by opening the email from their quarantine. The email had a spoofed address so it looked legitimate, however it was in quarantine because it was not a legitimate email.”

Computers which had been infected needed to be shut down and reimaged. Employees whose computers were affected by the virus weren’t able to get on their devices for a few days after the attack.

Baumstark said, “The virus has been mitigated and we have reimaged all machines that could have been potentially impacted by the virus.”

Though the virus was highly contagious, no student computers were infected.

Kristi Harms, senior English teacher, was at the building during the time of the virus spread. She arrived to her meeting at Aslin, which was interrupted and canceled due to the spread of the virus.

Harms said, “We worked for the first hour and then somebody that worked for Aslin came in…and asked that everyone who was an Aslin employee shut their computer down completely and stop working on them. So we were like ‘oh that was weird’ and we kept working and then fifteen or twenty minutes later, four more men who were clearly from tech services or something looked into it more said that everyone’s computers needed to be checked.”

There are many types of viruses, each having their own unique way of impacting the computer. Viruses can spread from junk emails, downloading different apps and photo/video content. According to Microsoft.com, preventative actions that can be taken to prevent viruses from spreading or getting a computer virus is to be cautious of clicking on any links in junk emails, or emails from unknown senders. PC and laptop users can also prevent the spread of computer viruses by not downloading suspicious apps or clicking on pop-up notifications.

All computers that were suspected to have the virus were shut down and reimaged, slowing down the spread of the virus, and fixing affected computers. Once reimaged, computers were given back to be used by their respective owners.

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Aslin Virus