[ISN] MSU lining up computers to fight virus

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Sep 17 2003 - 01:20:08 PDT

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    Forwarded from: Richard Caasi <caasiat_private>
    By Brye ButlerTimes 
    Record News
    September 16, 2003
    Midwestern State University is infected.
    The contagion is a nasty virus, not incapacitating students, but their
    computers. Last week the virus spiked, slowing down the university's
    network while likely spreading to many more of the estimated 600
    computers on the Resnet.
    University officials aren't sure where the virus originated or how
    many computers caught it - it must be sent to someone for their
    computer to be infected, said Assistant Director of Housing Matthew
    But he does know this has never happened at MSU before.
    Staff noticed a change in network traffic, indicating the severity of
    the problem. And Monday marked the first day of the weeklong treatment
    university officials hope will cure the problem for now.
    "We're trying to put a lid on it," Park said. "We're scanning their
    computers for viruses and uploading patches to prevent this in the
    Park estimated 80 percent of MSU students in campus housing own a
    computer, and they will all be checked before they're allowed back on
    the network. The campus computer labs don't appear infected, he said,
    nor does the virus appear to be concentrated in any one area or
    residence hall.
    The residents received letters Friday instructing them to bring their
    hard drives or laptops to their dorm lobbies; each dorm has been
    designated a day, but students can drop them off at other dorms if
    they choose, thus getting them back sooner, the letter says.
    The first assembly line on the road to recovery was set up yesterday
    morning in Pierce Hall. Housing and IT staff instructed students to
    drop off their computers after labeling them with stickers while staff
    hooked hard drives up to monitors and put discs in laptops to check
    for viruses.
    If something is detected, it is deleted. Not all will be infected,
    said David Owen, Pierce residence hall director, estimating a 2 to 10
    ratio. Computers can be worked on simultaneously, but each takes
    anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes to scan, he said.
    Meanwhile, two rectangular "to do" tables and the surrounding floor
    space was filling up with hard drives and laptops more rapidly than
    the "scanned and ready for pick-up" table. Staff had only been working
    for an hour - would they be able to get them all done?
    "I certainly hope so," Owen said, as more students came into the lobby
    with their computers.
    Mark Miles was one of them. Although he lives in Sunwatcher Village,
    which is scheduled for Wednesday service, the public administration
    student wanted his Gateway scanned as soon as possible so he could get
    connected again - it's inconvenient and the computer labs are crowded,
    he said.
    "I'm a graduate student and a lot of my classes are online," Miles
    said. "My computer is my school ... I couldn't do anything."
    To ensure this doesn't happen again, Danny Reddick, director of
    housing and residence life, said the university is purchasing
    anti-virus software for the students, in effect inoculating the main
    server a few times a day to prevent infections.
    Reddick said this will combat infections long-term, as opposed to this
    week's quick fix - that's not so quick. As students stop back in the
    lobby, either to check and see if their computer was cured or to drop
    off a possible infection, staff busily kept at the task at hand.
    "We won't stop until they're all fixed," Park said.
    City reporter Brye Butler can be reached at (940) 720-3461 or via
    e-mail at butlerb(at)TimesRecordNews.com.
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