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ACU Home > Major Events > News > 2004 News Archive > New technology to reduce spam, viruses at ACU

New technology to reduce spam, viruses at ACU

For immediate release
August 18, 2004

Abilene Christian University students, faculty and staff begin this school year with the hope of less viruses, spam and spyware products and a faster network, thanks to a new email filtering system and Internet registration system.  

IronPort – ACU's new filter system – was implemented during the summer and filters spam emails by checking the reputation of the message senders, said Dr. James Langford, director of web integration and programming.  As messages are sent to the network, IronPort rejects any mail that is obviously spam.  Messages that are accepted are then sent through another filter, Brightmail, which checks content and headers for any spam messages that were missed in the first filter. As a result, about 50 percent of the emails are rejected.  Messages accepted from Brightmail are sent through a virus scan, and clean messages are delivered to the recipient's inbox.

"Since July 18, the initial filter has rejected 4.5 million emails, and the Brightmail filter has rejected 1.4 million emails," Langford said.  "Of the roughly 6 million messages that have been sent to the university in the past month, only 700,000 were delivered through the new filtering system."  

In addition, students living on campus will now register their computers through the NetReg system, which requires them to submit their user name as the name of their computer before they gain access to the ACU network and the Internet. 

"The NetReg system lets ACU associate computers with computer owners," said Arthur Brant, ACU network administrator.  "When the university identifies that a computer is infected with a virus, spyware or is in violation of the acceptable use policy, NetReg helps us to quickly identify the owner of the computer so that the computer can either be removed from the network or cleaned."

During the summer, NetReg was enhanced with a scanner that searches for vulnerabilities within the Microsoft operating system.

"When students attempt to log into the ACU network for the first time, NetReg scans the computer for viruses, spyware products and makes sure the Windows updates are current" Kay Reeves, director of technology support services said.  "If the software finds a problem or a missing update, students are directed to a site where they can download protection for their computers, as well as automatically downloading updates from Microsoft."

ACU's technology administrators expect that the NetReg and IronPort systems will improve the speed of the network, reduce the amount of spam that is sent to university’s server and reduce the risk of major network problems.

"Last year we managed to survive the network problems that many campuses experienced last fall," said Dr. K.B. Massingill, chief information officer.  "Some schools had no internet access for weeks.  We want to prevent problems from occurring and computer registration and the increased email filtering will allow us to do that."

In addition to these changes the university purchased additional bandwidth, giving ACU a total of 15 megabites of bandwidth, and moved to a two provider configuration.

"The increase in bandwidth and the two provider system will allow users of the university’s network to have confidence in the reliability and effectiveness of the ACU network," Brant said.


If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Wendy Kilmer, Director of Public Relations.

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