This semester has seen a significant increase in virus and worm attacks
on UVM student and departmental computers. Perhaps two hundred of
those computers have been infected, and they are actively attacking
other computers -- spreading over the Internet, or sending thousands of
infected email messages, or tricking people into propagating them via
file sharing programs. The longer each infected computer stays online,
the greater the damage, and the more everyone's productivity is hurt.
Scores of external complaints have been received.
It is essential to get computers that are actively spreading viruses
and worms off the UVM network as quickly as possible. Because of the
large number of compromised computers, and the difficulty in
identifying and contacting so many individuals, Computing and
Information Technology (CIT) will temporarily disable the affected
computers' network access. When CIT has disabled network access in the
past, computer users sometimes haven't known why their access has
stopped working, and diagnosis has sometimes been lengthy and
Now, a Web page will appear on identified infected computers. It will
explain that the computer has a security problem, and will direct the
computer user unplug from the network and to contact the computing help
line or bring the computer to walk-in help. Access to all other Web
pages and network services, including chat and email, will be disabled.
If CIT doesn't hear from the computer user within one business day,
network access will be fully disabled, as has been the practice in the
past. For a sample of the message, please see:
CIT will start with a very small group of the most seriously
compromised computers. Computers causing significant network or
security problems will continue to be taken offline immediately.
Computers with virus infections that are not a danger to others will
not be subject to this process.
It's intended that this new process will be less disruptive and less
frustrating, and will lead to quicker resolution, benefitting both the
users of the infected computers and everyone else on the network. If
you have concerns, questions, or suggestions, please contact me.
Assistant Director for Client Services
Division of Computing & Information Technology
[log in to unmask] | 802-656-1174 | FAX 802-656-0872
The Winter 2004 UVM information technology newsletter is now online: