mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Sometimes you need to sacrifice for the good of the whole...

Slashdot has a post on a student complaining about having to install a software CD to connect to his residence hall network. The college I work for is rolling out a similar Cd. I made a couple posts, but considering how far the discussion has gone on, and the attitude of Slashdotters, they aren't going to get any attention.

Slashdot regularly has articles of this type - angry students annoyed about their evil net admins shutting off their access to file sharing, making them patch their computers, ect, and most people there are against it - some have gone as far as calling the CD's spyware.

These people really don't understand how destructive viruses can be, and how few students keep virus definitions and patches up to date. One of our network guys once tracked a Welchia-infected laptop plugged into our network - it had scanned every machine on the network in a matter of minutes. They also don't understand how much bandwidth file sharing takes, or the legal implications to colleges that ignore it and get sued.

I hate making statements like the title of this post, they smack of communism/socialism. But the fact is, a virus-laden or file-sharing laden network is useless to everyone, and the primary goal of the network is academic - research, email, ect. Anything else - gaming, file sharing, ect - is OK as long as it doesn't take away from the primary goal of the network - academics.

Some people have asked why colleges don't just shut down infected machines. Actually, that was what we were doing for the last couple years. But the problem with that is that it's too late- by then you have at least one trashed machine, and chances are you have many as that machine has infected other machines. You've also probably wasted a ton of bandwidth.

As far as those who call the CD's spyware, all we check is that you have the latest patches, a functioning and up-to-date copy of antivirus software, and are an authorized network user. Not exactly blackmailable info.


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