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The Daily Tar Heel

Preventing network havoc: ITS right to protect campus against virtual threats

Information Technology Services is right to take further steps to protect the University’s Internet network.

ITS launched a pilot program in Cobb Residence Hall last week that will eventually go mainstream. The program is called Network Access Control. It puts ITS in a position to find software vulnerabilities before they wreak havoc on the network and on students’ computers.

The program scans a computer to make sure it has up-to-date anti-virus software, a firewall and current system updates.

It cannot scan your personal files. Ryan Turner, a network specialist for ITS, said that the program is very limited in the scope of what it can check. It only checks to make sure that computers aren’t running programs with known weakness.

For example, Jim Gogan, director of network systems for ITS, said that there have been problems with older versions of Adobe Reader. This new program will make sure users are running an updated version.

As of now, there’s only a download for Windows on the ITS Web site. But Gogan said that there should be a Mac version before the program goes mainstream.

ITS is responsible for the safety and stability of Internet and network services on campus. And the ITS staff should do everything it can to further ensure the safety of computers connecting to the campus network. This program does just that.

In the pilot program, some students have voiced concern that this process slows their Internet access down. Turner said that the last thing ITS wants is for users to have slower connections.

And ITS doesn’t leave students out to dry with their services. Gogan said students should contact their ResNet staffer or call 962-HELP if they think the program is slowing down their Internet connection or if they have other problems.

Cyber security is a huge concern on university campuses. And ITS should take Network Access Control mainstream as soon as possible.

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