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Viruses, worms, traffic slow campus network

By : Sarah Lifshin

Problems with the computer network and cam- pus e-mail, which slowed online class registration and mail delivery last week, are close to being corrected, according to Mark Reed, associate vice president for computing and educational technology.

Reed said the University “skated” compared with problems experienced at other colleges nationwide caused by two widespread computer viruses the “Blaster” Internet worm and “Sobig.F” e-mail virus.

“This has all been coupled with it being the busiest time of the year,” Reed said. “It has certainly been disruptive from that standpoint.”

Most of the networking problems have been corrected, Reed said, but there is the possibly that more variations of the viruses could exist.

As faculty and students returned to campus and plugged into the network, computing services staff worked nonstop last week to patch unprotected machines with new security software.

“We were pretty worried about that but we had a manageable situation on this campus,” Reed said.

Many of the network problems began after the massive blackout in the Northeast last month. Problems continued throughout the month and worsened as students arrived on campus, connected to personal computers and tried to register for courses through the BUSI Web Center.

On Friday, August 29, online registration capability was halved from a norm of 1,200 to 600 students an hour.

Reed said the problems were worse for students who tried to log on from residence halls and off-campus apartments than from computer pods, which are equipped with virus protection software.

Reed said the computer network was shutdown Friday afternoon for a short time to fix the problem.

E-mail delivery was also delayed Friday after the company the campus hires to screen out spam experienced problems, slowing delivery of e-mail and listservs throughout the weekend. E-mail problems have been resolved.

Reed urged students, faculty and staff to regularly update their security software to prevent other potential problems. Anti-virus software is provided free of charge and is available on the computing website at
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Last Updated: 10/14/08