September 24, 2016

‘.zip bomb’ released by hacked email

Webster University email accounts were compromised last week. An employee’s computer was infected and sent a virus out to Webster employees and students through email.

The original email had the subject line “Order” with a .zip file attached. The computer that sent out the virus got infected, cleaned, then infected again. When it was re-infected, the subject line of the email started changing.

What all of the emails have in common is their text body does not match their subject lines and all contain a .zip file.

A .zip file is designed to compress large files so they can be shared more easily or in larger groupings.

Webster’s Chief Information Officer Ken Freeman said 90-95 percent of the virus has been contained and is taken care of.

Symantec, the company Webster works with for virus protection, created malware to stop the spread and recognize the infected emails.

Webster’s IT department requests that anyone receiving the email does not open the .zip file and immediately deletes the email. Once deleted, empty the “trash” folder.

If the .zip file is opened it spreads a virus onto the computer. If that happens contact the IT department at (314)968-5995 or support@webster.edu.

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