Thursday, May 29, 2008


People wonder why we stress computer security so much. Some of it is inconvenient, and what problems could one or two insecure computers cause?

Plenty.  That was demonstrated a few days ago. We discovered that e-mail wasn't being delivered to outside addresses. After some research, we found the cause: our spam filtering service (Postini) noticed spam activity coming from Siena addresses and blocked us as a spammer.

And what caused this?  One user.

The person involved downloaded a virus, and suddenly our system was sending out thousands of spam messages.  Because of the user, everyone else on the system could not send e-mail to anything other than Siena addresses until we fixed the problem.

Obviously, the person involved did not know there was a problem. But, by failing to secure their computer, it inconvenienced the entire campus community.

Computing is interconnected more than ever these days, and it's important that people protect their computers, not just because of what problems it will cause them, but also because of the problems it causes others.