Come and Fight Against Virus with Us!

by Noel Laam

The proliferation of virus is a common headache to the computer as well as Internet users, causing billions of dollars lost each year. As viruses nowadays turn trickier, there is no single cure to stop it from spreading feverishly. However, this does not mean there is nothing that we can do to protect our machines from being infected. The Computing Services Centre (CSC) has implemented a series of measures to fight against the ever-changing virus, and your cooperation will be the key to their success.

According to our statistics, there were about 270 incidents of localised virus infection in 2002 despite our unceasing effort to protect the campus machines, and in most cases an infection came from an unsolicited mail attachment, a floppy disk or a downloaded file from the Internet etc. In fact, most of these cases could be prevented if enough protection had been in place or the users had followed the protection advice. These individual cases greatly endangered the whole network population, and continuous education as well as blocking of infected PCs became the only passive means to reduce the risk. The situation showed no sign of improvement in spite of our frequent warning, but only turned worse. In the light of it, the CSC decided to adopt the Mcafee ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO), which has been in place since January 2003, as a pro-active approach to step up the level of virus protection. Every networked PC on campus was required to install the ePO and this has become a policy. PCs connected to the campus network are now installed with the ePO agents, which automatically update new virus scan engine and/or signature file once released. This saves a lot of time and effort on the user end, and the protection threshold is also significantly raised. In order to enable the ePO to perform its function to the best, once a networked PC is found without proper virus protection, it will be disconnected from the campus network immediately to prevent any possible infection, and it will be reconnected only when proper anti-virus software is installed.

So much for the networked PCs. You may wonder what happened to the stand alone PCs. The CSC has repeatedly been urging their owners to install proper anti-virus software, e.g. Mcafee virus shield, to protect their machines on campus and other machines, including personal notebooks using the wireless LAN and home PCs dialing up to the campus network. Unfortunately, there seems to be still quite a number of these machines that are without the said or similar software in place, and they inevitably become one of the likely sources that pose security threat to the campus network. We therefore once again urge the owners of these stand alone, notebook and home PCs to have the anti-virus software set up to help safeguard the campus network.

As a general user, you may also help protect the CityU network by adopting the following common and simple practice:

  1. Do not remove or block the ePO from updating your PCs by using tools like firewall. If possible, reboot your networked PC every day to ensure that the updates of Mcafee virus signature file and engine will apply to your PCs.
  2. Protect your personal PCs or notebooks with appropriate anti-virus software and their updates.
  3. Scan any floppy disks, CD-R/CD-RW and other removable media or files downloaded from the Internet to ensure they are virus free before use.
  4. Don't open any file or email attachment from unknown sources and remove any infected file/mail immediately once detected. This is the source for most virus infections and there are chances that new or variants of viruses may spread. Anti-virus vendors will need time to create disinfectants or include definitions for their detection.
  5. Once your PC or notebook is found infected by virus, clean it as soon as possible to prevent it from further spreading. Disconnect your computer from the network is the most effective way to curb it before the virus gets cleaned up.
  6. Report to us if you suspect your PC is infected by new virus.

The CSC will continue to fight against virus to secure the well being of our campus network. And are you ready to join in now?