MMM Minutes 2/18/99

Minutes of Smathers
Middle Manager's Meeting
February 18, 1999

Present: Rich Bennett, Pam Cenzer, Gary Cornwell, Michelle Crump, Trudi DiTrolio, Carol Drum, David Fuller, Barry Hartigan, David Hickey, Dot Hope, Martha Hruska, John Ingram, Erich Kesse, Tom Minton, Richard Phillips, Rob Roberts, Jan Swanbeck, Carol Turner
DNS Problems
  1. Yesterday from 11:19 AM to 12:45 PM and this morning starting at 8:55 AM, we have been experiencing DNS problems - access to subnet 128 was disrupted for parts (but not all) of campus.
  2. To prevent any future problems this can cause, liaisons need to configure the network TCP/IP properties by adding a secondary DNS server to all machines as soon as possible. The secondary DNS IP number is
  3. Unfortunately with all of the traffic on that IP, it is starting to get clogged and is slowing down.
  4. If the problem continues, we may have to get the numbers for absolute symbolics.
Security Scan
  1. Campus authorities have been up in arms over the continual attacks on the network.
  2. The Auditor General has commissioned NERDC to run ISS from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM today. It will affect everyone on subnets 10 (MSL/Music/AFA) and 54 (south tower of Smathers, including access to the mail and CD servers).
  3. This will consist of an automated security scan of all devices attached to these subnets. The auditor wants to do this test during normal working conditions, which is why it is scheduled for the middle of the day, and also the reason that people in the affected areas are requested to make sure their workstations are on during this period.
  4. This is not intended to be an outage per se, you may be able to work as usual, although you can probably expect to see the nets being tested move more slowly than usual. For the mail server, this may mean Outlook freezes, since it is not overly tolerant of response delays.
  5. Once the scan is complete, we will get the results within a few hours. They will present us with a list of security problems and we will be asked to fix them.
Security Software
  1. Systems has recently received scanning software for checking on password security.
  2. On the first run, it only detected six bad passwords.
  3. It performs a dictionary attack - looking for common words, first names, etc.
  4. We will run this about every two weeks - those that are in violation will simply be made to expire without explanation or warning.
  5. We may crank up the number of necessary characters per password to eight.
Email Tomfoolery
  1. We recently had a complaint about an email sent out from a public machine in the Library.
  2. It was a very creative email made to look as if it came from John Lombardi & it was hinting at the mental health problems of a particular student.
  3. In this type of scenario, it is best to notify the postmaster and let them track down where it originated.
Intel Pentium III
  1. The upcoming Pentium chip has a unique number imbedded in each one, which has the civil libertarians up in arms - they feel that it is far too invasive.
  2. We may boycott it - not for privacy reasons - rather, cost effectiveness.
Sign Ons
  1. We will need to cut back on the number of people signing on with the generic Cows 1 user id - it has too much abuse potential.
  2. We'll need to start restricting what we can do with individual signons.
Web Mail
  1. There were some problems with access to web mail that were not reported for a week. It was asking for a password where it didn't before.
  2. When problems like this occur, it's important to report them to Syshelp at first notice.
  1. We have received 13 barcode scanners and have a distribution list for them.
  2. 20 Cows are on the way - 20 more have been ordered.
  3. Wiring project equipment has been ordered.

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Last updated February 17, 2000
by Debra Harris