The Internet is plagued by a growing number of
computer viruses and worms, the most dangerous of which can modify or
even delete data from your computer while even the most benign can so
severely affect the performance of a computer or network as to make it
virtually unusable. Since it is possible for only a few infected systems
to overwhelm the entire network, we must inspect each student's
computer before allowing access. We also maintain a firewall on the
network that will not allow connections to many network services
(file-sharing and gaming services especially). We do this to address
security and bandwidth concerns. While we strive for balance between
individual convenience and overall security and utility, we may often
err in favor of the network. Should this cause too much inconvenience,
please contact the IS Department and we may be able to accommodate you.
We require that each computer have up-to-date antivirus software and
operating system patches installed. We have found Symantec Norton
Antivirus (http://www.symantec.com) to be the easiest to use and most reliable, though other programs will work: McAfee VirusScan (http://www.mcafee.com) and TrendMicro AntiVirus (http://us.trendmicro.com)
to name just two. All of these programs require annual subscription
fees to maintain up-to-date virus protection. Many new computer systems
are sold with antivirus software installed but will be enabled with a
short-term subscription. Check your expiration date!
Antivirus software can usually be configured to automatically check with
the manufacturer for updates when an Internet connection is available.
Whether it is an automatic or manual process on your computer it should
be completed (and verified) at least once per week. The software should
also be configured to scan all files whenever they are accessed. For
additional peace of mind a ""complete system scan"" should be run
Many of the viruses and worms now available take advantage of flaws
in popular operating systems (Microsoft Windows, Apple/Mac, Linux). To
prevent their spread (and intrusion on your computer) you need to keep
your system up-to-date. Microsoft offers a ""Windows Update"" system
accessible through the program menu, Microsoft Internet Explorer, the
Control panel or by browsing to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com.
Apple also provides operating system updates which are accessible
through system preferences or by opening the apple menu and clicking
Software Update. These systems can be configured to automatically update
your computer when an Internet connection is available or can be run
manually. Either way you should check for updates at least once per
week. Some Linux vendors offer similar services but their use varies
We also recommend the installation and use of spyware removal
software. Spyware includes web cookies and other data-mining objects and
can attempt to collect personal or other sensitive information from
your computer and communicate this information to unknown parties.
Spyware can also ""hijack"" your web browser, slow down your computer
and network connections, and generally make your computing life
miserable. The most effective applications to combat this are SpyBot: Search & Destroy and Ad-Aware . These are free to non-commercial end-users, frequently updated, and should be used together.
In the course of our inspection, we are interested in your computer's
operating system version and patch condition, and the presence of a
current, anti-virus application that can be updated.
There are a few things you can do just before packing your computer
for shipping to Fisher College that will dramatically speed up the
- If you use Microsoft Windows XP or Vista, make sure your
operating system can be updated! If the system has not been
""registered"" with Microsoft and you do not have a valid registration
key, it cannot be patched and we will not allow it on the network. You will need to purchase a valid system license before we will allow network access.
- Make sure you have installed the latest Operating System updates.
- Make sure your anti-virus software is updated and that your
anti-virus subscription lasts the duration of the semester. If you need
to re-subscribe to an update system try to do so before you arrive on
- Run a complete (all files, all hard-drives) anti-virus scan just before bringing your computer in for inspection.
If a system appears to be in good working order, we will simply need
to verify its condition and you will be allowed network access fairly
quickly. Otherwise, we will need to ensure that all the above criteria
have been met. This can be a very lengthy process, and may take several
hours to complete.