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Thursday, September 2, 2004
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   CIS Technology Update: Early Edition


CIS Technology Update: Early Edition

Preparing for the Academic Year: Network Vulnerabilities, Viruses and Threats, and What You Can Do to Protect Your Computer

Greetings and welcome (back) to SPU! As you prepare for the upcoming school year, please be aware of the following issues if you plan to connect a computer to the campus network:

  • Unpatched, unprotected computers that are plugged into the campus network WILL become infected with computer viruses within 3-5 minutes of being connected.
  • To avoid becoming infected, computers must have the latest critical operating system patches installed.
  • SPU requires that all computers run current, automatically updating anti-virus software.
  • There are many new threats (technically, what are referred to as "bots" and "spyware") that are rampant throughout the Internet; your computer may even now be unknowingly infected.

Before you arrive to campus:

  • Microsoft Windows computers should have the critical patches from Microsoft installed prior to arriving on campus. This will speed up your setup when you arrive, and ease congestion on the campus network. If you are able to do so, please go to http://www.windowsupdate.com and install all critical Windows updates right away. This should include up to the latest critical release, Service Pack 2.
  • There are a number of free software programs available for you to clean your system of spyware and bots. A couple of very handy sites are http://www.spychecker.com/software/antispy.html and http://www.download.com . Some tools that we've found very useful include Ad-aware, SpyBot Search and Destroy, and Hijack This.
When you arrive:
  • Operating system patches and anti-virus software MUST be installed BEFORE you plug your computer into the network.
  • The Computer and Information Systems department (CIS) will provide free network security CDs that include a number of important tools to address the issues noted above. If you are living on-campus, these CDs will be provided at the time you check in. Residential and commuter students may also obtain these CDs from CIS (located in Lower Marston Hall) or from the Office of Safety and Security.
  • CIS also provides anti-virus software from McAfee to all students free of charge. This software will be available on the CDs mentioned above.
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Office 2003, and a variety of other Microsoft products are available at very modest cost ($10-$20 per title). See the CIS Help Desk link below for more information.
Of special note to students living on campus:

After you configure your cleaned, patched, virus-protected computer for access to the campus network, (configuration details are provided on the security CD), you will need to log in with your SPU email username and password to obtain network access. This is a new process that will allow us to more effectively track and isolate virus outbreaks. Simply open up a web page with Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape, or any other web browser to trigger the login process. After logging in, your computer will be scanned for current viruses; you will be alerted should any significant viruses be found.

There are many technology resources available at SPU to help you work safely and make the most of the academic opportunities that a campus network provides. For details, please go to http://www.spu.edu/CISHelpDesk or drop us an email at help@spu.edu.

Finally, please note that SPU email is the standard communication medium for all official campus communications. Remember to check this account regularly as the start of school approaches. If you have additional addresses that you prefer to use, your SPU email may be forwarded to those accounts. For details, search the computer help pages (linked above) with the keywords: email forward.

Hope you've had a great summer! See you soon!

- CIS Help

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