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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 31, 1999)
Computer users warned of virus
A particularly prolific virus threat
ened e-mail users this week, but local
officials said preventive practices could
stop others from passing the bug.
The virus, referred to as “Melissa,”
can infect only Microsoft Office prod
ucts, such as Microsoft Word and
The virus, one of the fastest spread
ing in history, is passed by an e-mail
message with the subject line “An
important message from ...” and an
attached Word document. Reading the
message will not release the virus, but
opening the attached document will.
Once activated, Melissa selects 50
names from the user’s Outlook address
book and sends itself to those users,
starting the process anew.
Melissa disturbed e-mail systems at
several large corporations Monday,
including Microsoft, Intel and Dell
Bill Hayes, a University of
Nebraska-Lincoln computer lab super
intendent, has been in contact with other
university information technology staff.
So far no one has reported an infection.
“Right now all is quiet,” he said.
The FBI is conducting an investiga
tion to determine who is responsible for
Melissa, according to a ZDNet report
Tuesday. The virus was apparently
launched from infected files posted to
the Internet discussion group alt. sex,
according to the ZDNet Web site.
Hayes emphasized that users who
do not use Outlook as an e-mail pro
gram cannot spread the virus.
“If Outlook isn’t there, you’ve got
an infected version of Word. Period,”
Hayes said the best defense against
Melissa and other viruses of its kind,
called macro viruses, is to simply not
Another important protection
against viruses is a virus scanning pro
Our technical support will tell you not to open
these attachments. After that it s user choice.”
gram. Hayes said virus scanning pro
grams were available for downloading
or from the UNL computer shop located
in the 501 building.
Lincoln Internet service providers
reported no effects from the virus
Tuesday. Officials at Navix, Internet
Nebraska and Radiks Internet Access
said they had not noticed any distur
bance associated with the virus.
Lela Kelliher of Aliant
Communications said no one had
reported infection from Melissa as of
Kelliher said that customers who
called technical support for advice
about Melissa were given basic infor
mation and referred to Internet
resources for more specific questions.
Marc Hassman of Radiks said
Tuesday afternoon Melissa had had “no
effect” on his company’s computers.
“Our technical support will tell you
not to open these attachments. After that
it’s a user choice,” he said
Hayes said the best defense against
viruses, and computer problems in gen
eral, is user knowledge of computers.
“Many users approach computers
as if they were toasters,” he said. “Users
need to understand the things that can
harm their systems.”
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Don’t Hide It Divide Iff
Senate wants out of compact
■ Nebraska senators
move to withdraw from the
five-state waste compact.
By Jessica Fargen
Senior staff writer
Two years ago, when senators con
sidered getting out of a five-state waste
compact because Nebraska was cho
sen to house the waste, senators were
leery of the pricey consequences of
So the state stayed in the Central
Interstate Low-Level Radioactive
But Tuesday, bolstered by a recent
law opinion that says Nebraska would
not be penalized for withdrawing, sen
ators gave first round approval 37-0 to
withdraw from the compact.
Gov. Mike Johanns said he was
leaning toward signing the bill if it
passes the remaining two rounds of
debate and lands on his desk.
Under LB530, sponsored by
Ewing Sen. Cap Dierks, Nebraska
would withdraw from the compact,
which includes Kansas, Louisiana,
Arkansas and Oklahoma. According to
a Washington, D.C., law firm, the state
would be obligated to pay its current
annual fee of $25,000 for five more
years, then would be free of the com
Since Boyd County, located in
northeastern Nebraska near the South
Dakota border, was chosen as the site
in 1989, county residents and the state
have wrangled with the issue of staying
in the compact.
But fear that exiting the compact
would result in millions of dollars in
litigation kept the state in the compact.
During the hour-long debate, no
senators spoke in opposition to the bill,
saying that the time was right to get out
of the compact.
Last year the Nebraska
Department of Environmental Quality
denied a license for the site.
Dierks said the $94 million project
has dragged on long enough.
“It is time for Nebraska to stand up
for itself and end this madness and
withdraw from the compact,” Dierks
Speaker Doug Kristensen of
Minden said the nation’s need for low
level waste sites has dwindledin the 20
years since the conception of nation
wide waste compacts. Nebraska cur
rently ships its low-level waste to a
South Carolina site.
Any litigation resulting from site
withdrawal would not be linked to
LB530, several senators said. But the
fear of litigation was still there,
A lawsuit alleging Nebraska did
not act in good faith in denying a per
mit to build the site is pending in feder
al court, Kristensen said.
Lincoln Sen. Chris Beutler said
Nebraska had acted in good faith long
“We have operated in better faith
than any other compact that I know of,”
he said. “Nowhere in this country is
there a licensing process that is truly in
motion in any of the compact states.”
Dierks said Boyd County residents
Smoking bill signed
into law by Johanns
From staff reports
Gov. Mike Johanns signed three
bills into law Tuesday morning, includ
ing one that bans smoking in state vehi
cles and buildings.
The governor held a signing cere
mony Wednesday few LBs 211,40 and
49. LB211 was originally intended to
ban smoking in the state Capitol build
ing, but the bill’s focus grew to encom
pass state vehicles and most state build
ings, including 40 percent of university
residence hall rooms.
Johanns thanked Sens. Jerry
Schmitt of Ord, Don Preister of Omaha
and Floyd Vrtiska of Table Rock for
their work in getting the bill passed.
“I get the easy part,” Johanns said.
“I just show up and sign it”
Schmitt introduced the bill this year.
Preister had introduced similar mea
sures in years past Vrtiska worked with
Preister on past legislation.
Vrtiska accidentally referred to the
governor as Sen. Johanns.
Johanns joked about the slip being a
“Can I be on the Revenue
Committee?” he asked. His property
tax rebate plan, LB881, has been stuck
in the Revenue Committee since its
hearing in February.
The other bills Johanns signed are
part of a crime package.
LB40 enhances the penalties for
being an accessory to a felony. LB49
makes it a criminal offense to entice a
child into a car or building.
Omaha Sen. Kermit Brashear, who
introduced both bills, said the first bill is
a more effective way of dealing with
gangs than trying to identify gang mem
bers. The second bill, he said, was a
response to requests from the courts.
“We’ve simply done-that in the
interest of our children,” Ik said.
had suffered enough “broken hearts
and misbehavior” as a result of the
Sen. Ed Schrock of Elm Creek
“May no one here have to go
through what goes on in Boyd County ”
Schrock said. “It’s time we withdraw.
This has been a flawed process since
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