Aug 212005
 
Authors: Margaret Canty

It is dangerous, deadly and spreads quickly before any remedy can stop it. Once introduced into the system, it will work to destroy with malicious intent.

No, this is not another West Nile outbreak, but a CSU computer virus.

About six months ago, CSU began looking into a new security system to protect students, faculty and staff from the disaster of a computer virus, said Diane Noren, desk manager for the central computing lab.

The program, installed recently, is called Clean Access. It provides security for all computers on the CSU, housing and wireless networks.

"Clean Access makes sure all computers plugged into the network have the proper software so as not to propagate a virus," Noren said.

Bill Davis, network security administrator for housing, said the system is especially important now.

"At the beginning of the semester, we have students coming in form all over the world using various programs. Some have up-to-date software, others don't even have anti-virus software installed," he said. "Our goal is to bring everyone up to a common level of security to decrease the risk of a widespread virus outbreak."

Before being able to access CSU's network, Clean Access ensures that PCs are equipped with Windows 2000 or XP, all of the latest security patches and an active, up-to-date virus client, Noren said.

Spy software, including Symantic Anti Virus and WebRoot Spy Sweeper, can be downloaded online or picked up without charge in the residence halls or in room 224 of the Weber building.

Instructions for completing the installation process also will be provided.

Noren said to access the wireless connection, students must have CSU's version of Cisco's Virtual Private Network (VPN) Client to protect wireless data. There are home, campus and housing VPN logins.

Some students think Clean Access is a positive change.

"I understand why they needed it, and it's good to have everyone keep up. I did have problems getting on (the Internet) because my Norton antivirus was updated, but the program said it wasn't," said Karin Pamperin, a junior social work major and Resident Assistant in Corbett Hall. "I ended up just downloading their anti virus and now it works."

Other students disagree.

"(Clean Access) is ridiculous and a waste of time because I have to sign in every time," said Scott Sharp, a freshman speech communications major.

Students are instructed to uninstall old anti virus programs if choosing to use those provided by CSU. If a problem arises, the RAs have been trained to use the program, along with the computer staff, Noren said.

After installation is complete, the system will be scanned once a week and will notify students when computers are not up to date.

"Virus makers take advantage of people who don't patch quickly," Davis said. "The new program will teach students to always stay up to date."

David said most viruses do two things; once a computer has been infected, they start looking for another vulnerable computer and usually accomplish some sort of malicious intent, such as allowing a hacker complete access.

Clean Access should make sure that viruses are not able to get a "foot hold" on a computer connected to CSU's network.

If a student has problems running the program or getting connected, Noren recommends calling the housing helpline at 491-4734, or contacting an RA.

"It would be a great help if students comply with this," Davis said. "Once we remove all the weak links from the network, the campus will be protected."

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