Viruses, spam, Pipeline upgrades await VSU users

Here is an article on computer viruses, spam, and the new portal for which I was interviewed for the Spectator, the university student news paper.

Josh Stone

Campus computers are getting sick from e-mail viruses and spam, but Information Technology staff members say they have medicine to fight the problem.

“We can’t really eliminate them, but we can try to shield people from them,” Ezra Freelove, webmaster, said.

At www.valdosta.edu/antivirus, Internet Technology provides an anti-virus program called PC-Cillin that can be downloaded free. This program scans e-mail for viruses and provides protection against them.

If students don’t want this free software, they should look for products that analyze e-mail to see if a virus is attached or not.

Freelove said all VSU’s lab and faculty computers have OfficeScan, an antivirus scanning program.

The web site also provides a top 10 list of VSU’s nastiest viruses. You can click on the virus names to get information on the damage they cause, how they can be recognized and how they can be removed from your computer system.

Freelove said viruses start off campus. Somebody will receive one, spread it over the Internet, and eventually the virus gets here. He said one or two days pass from the time Information Technology hears about a virus to the time it is found on campus.

E-mail spam is also a problem.

Freelove said the primary cause of spam is people who have realized they can collect e-mail addresses, send e-mails and get paid for doing so.

“Spamming is a business,” he said.

A lot of people have configured their e-mail servers so anyone can use them. Spammers figure this out and use the server to send e-mails.

“VSU’s server is configured so not everyone is allowed to send out e-mails,” Freelove said.

E-mail viruses and spam are problems, but so is the task of figuring out how to access an e-mail account for the first time.

“I’ve gotten into it, but I forget how to use it,” Rachel Sault, a freshman dental hygiene major, said.

On VSU’s homepage there is a link called “Finding Your Student E-Mail Account.” This web page uses pictures and words in a step-by-step format to help students figure out what their e-mail username and password are.

Freelove said the help desk on the first floor of Ashley Hall is also a good resource.

For more information about technological matters on campus, call the Information Technology Help Desk at 245-4357.

Campus Pipeline Update

Campus Pipeline, one of VSU’s e-mail servers, is being upgraded. As of press time, Campus Pipeline was still inaccessible after being down since Friday afternoon.

Originally, Campus Pipeline was supposed to be back online as of late Tuesday. Freelove said the server was shutdown was due to complications during the upgrade from the current version of Pipeline to version 3.2.

 

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