This was the scene Friday afternoon, after a rapidly propagating "fake virus alert" program called "MS Scanner" prompted the county's computer techs to take down all public -access PC's at the main library: Internet workstations and catalog computers alike.
These viruses have become more formidable over the last year or so. Disk protection software that wipes all changes on reboot is no longer sufficient. The new viruses log a PC's IP address, and continue to send pop-up windows to "warn" the next user about non-existent infections. Any interaction with the pop-up window, even clicking on a "do not install" button or closing the window will enable the program to install. We've had a lot of trouble with programs called something like "XP Antivirus". And many of our public-access users are so innocent, believing that these messages are real.
"MS Scanner" is a new one. According to the techs, it can find the IP addresses for other PC's on the same network once it gets a foothold on the first one. Only the wired, fixed workstations were affected. The library's WiFi service was not affected, so patrons with laptops and users of our library netbooks were fine.