CNN.com: Colleges respond to wave of Internet infections
This article interests me simply because it describes the ways that different universities are responding to the virus attacks. For instance:
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology shuts off Internet service to computers it determines are infected, said Kirky DeLong, a manager at one of MIT’s research labs. In extreme cases, officials will block all traffic to and from a suspect computer based on its digital fingerprint.
Yet even non-technologically-oriented universities, in large part, are taking similar actions:
Vanderbilt University found infections in computers of roughly one-fourth of its returning 5,000 students. Stunned technicians shut off connections to nearly 1,200 computers they determined were infected and gradually restored service over the next several days after ensuring each machine was clean.
But how does one eliminate the threat while the computers are disconnected? Some schools, including the one I attend, are giving free site-licensed copies of Norton Antivirus to students; others, like Ohio’s Oberlin College, are punishing unprotected users in a more obvious manner, “threatening to fine students $25 for inadvertently spreading a virus”– a sensible punishment considering that “Oberlin […] found infections in nine out of every 10 running Windows software”.
Incidentally, it seems that some antivirus software companies are using the aftermath of these viruses to be a bit unscrupulous; I just saw a banner ad on one page exclaiming “W32 Virus Detected: Click Here to Scan & Clean”. Since I’m knowledgeable about computers (and as a result have installed the latest Norton virus definitions!), I know that it’s a complete sham… but that may not be the case for less knowledgeable users, and I must lash out at the advertiser for such a pathetic act of exploitation. The ad leads to a page where you can buy a product called Computer Shield from a company named BuySmarter; I’m not sure how good this firewall software actually is, but I can only urge you to boycott this particular company due to their incredibly deceptive ad. I do have to wonder whether the banner is also served to Linux and Mac users, though; that would be amusing…