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Liberty News

Liberty community warned of cyber attacks

December 12, 2014 : Liberty University News Service

A significant virus was recently located on the personal laptop of Liberty University President Jerry Falwell. The laptop was not joined to the Liberty network and only contained Falwell’s personal information. No student data was stored on it nor was accessible through it.

The virus was detected after Falwell experienced some email issues — unrelated to the virus — and asked for assistance from Liberty’s Information Technology department. When the IT helpdesk performed a standard virus scan, an unusual virus was discovered and the laptop was handed over to a specialist on IT’s cyber security team. The virus was identified as Rovnix, which at the time was typically used for stealing information from commercial enterprises, mainly for financial system or industrial espionage.

Liberty’s IT department immediately began scanning all computers on the Liberty network. Falwell’s laptop was identified as the only machine infected with the virus. The laptop was wiped completely and then replaced with another laptop and was no longer used. Although it was determined that there is no risk of exposure to Liberty University computers from this incident, users are still encouraged to take precautions and not download emails or files from unknown, untrusted sources.

It is not known who infiltrated Falwell’s machine, but because of the high cost involved for hackers to obtain the particular virus, this was suspected to be a targeted, personal attack on Falwell, for unknown reasons.

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