By Michelle Chen ‘16 and Jinyan Huang ‘16
The computer virus is in need of a vaccine. The virus creates frustration in students and teachers when the important documents stored in the USB drives disappear in the blink of an eye.
“The virus appeared in early October. It was brought in by thumb drives,” said Dr. Ernest R. Pysher, an assistant principal who’s also a site manager.
The virus is a form of the recycler virus which spreads through removable devices including USB drives, memory sticks, and other portable devices. When it enters a system, it creates hidden files in which they’re inaccessible.
“It was not active on the computer, but if the computer had the virus, any other thumb drive inserted into the computer caught the virus,” Dr. Pysher explained.
It spreads to all computers with teachers who use USB drives. Only Google Docs or Dropbox users aren’t affected. It took a week to get rid of the virus. Unfortunately, it reoccurred. The virus disturbs lessons in class and it frustrates the teachers.
“Once you click on the documents, they become shortcuts and now you cannot open them anymore,” said Ms. Myrna Franco, a Spanish teacher. “I couldn’t log in and pull up my lessons. I use Dropbox now but it’s not the same, it takes time to upload and download the lessons.”
Ms. Franco uses the computer to plan her daily lessons and saves them on the USB drive. However, since her USB drive got infected, textbooks and handouts are used in class as an alternative.
“Sometimes you may not have anything on your flash drive, but for me I have college recommendations and lesson plans so I have everything in there,” said Ms. Franco.
Teachers can clean off their USB drives in school. However, if their computer at home got infected, too, their USB will be re-infected if it’s plugged into the computer.
“It also infected my computer at home,” said Ms. Franco, “but this time not even my computer’s antivirus could detect it.”
The virus does not only affect teachers but also students. Plugging their USBs into the computer will get them infected immediately. Students can lose their documents, projects and homework.
“Whenever I press on a file in my USB, a threat will pop out,” said Zita Chau ‘16. “This happened after I plugged in my USB in the computer in the south wing.”
According to Dr. Pysher, the number of infected computers were “too many to count.”
Luckily, computers in the library aren’t affected. It has a software program called Neverware, which deletes installed files when computers reboot. Deepfreeze, a similar software program, will be installed to the smart boards to prevent further recurring viruses.
A similar situation occurred about two years ago when the school had a severeautoexec.bat virus called the “recycler virus.” Unlike the current virus, it didn’t hide files, and it made folders appear faded. Both viruses created folders that are inaccessible.
“It was the first virus of that type so it was more frightening,” said Dr. Pysher.
The computers need to be fixed before it spreads further. Students who use their flash drives in school have to be aware of the recycler virus. For additional information, students and teachers may speak to Dr. Pysher about cleaning their USB drives.