The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 15, 2009

UPJ investigating source of computer virus

JOHNSTOWN — Officials at UPJ say they are re-evaluating their computer defenses after their network fell victim to a virus attack last week.

They also are continuing their investigation into the source of the attack, which was first noticed early Tuesday.

At about 5 a.m., members of the information technology department noticed that something foreign on the network was consuming large amounts of bandwidth. In effect, the virus clogged the networks to such a degree that the flow of information on campus was reduced to a slow trickle.

“I really credit our IT staff for catching this as quickly as they did, because it really could have had serious consequences,” said Bob Knipple, Director of Alumni and Community Relations at UPJ.

Knipple said that without their quick reaction, the entire IT infrastructure on campus could have been brought down.

All computer labs on campus were closed before noon on Tuesday and several lab-based classes were canceled.

Most students reported no problems or lost data on their personal computers. These students said they had installed the Symantec antivirus software offered free by the IT department.

Some, such as freshman Ariel Halstead, whose computer wasn’t running any antivirus software at the time of the attack, complained of abysmally slow Internet speeds throughout the week.

Knipple said that no administrative systems on campus sustained any permanent damage, and there were no reports of lost or damaged data from any campus department.

The virus came at an unfortunate time for UPJ students, however, as registration for spring classes, a mostly electronic process, began in late October.

All members of the IT department declined to comment about the nature or classification of the virus. Symantec Corp. is in the process of updating the virus definitions and defenses for the campus servers, Knipple said.

He said the IT department will continue to investigate the origin of the attack, but that the virus didn’t necessarily originate on campus. Several servers and Web sites around the world reported similar attacks early last week.

While the IT staff swiftly flushed the virus out of the network, any remnants could have hidden within any machine connected to the network; all of them had to be removed.

Knipple said he feels the likelihood of something like this happening again is relatively low and is confident in the new network defenses being installed.

“I think (it’s) very safe,” he said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Flower2 Flowers' color doesn't have to fade

    Those pots of bright yellow daffodils, Easter lilies and hyacinths gracing the home this weekend do not have to end up in the trash bin when the blooms start to fade.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Refinancing could lower Richland School District's debt by $2.2M

    When Richland School District borrowed funds for its high school project a decade ago, board members circled “2014” on their calendars as a likely first option to refinance the debt.

    April 20, 2014

  • Pipeline to carry shale byproducts

    An 8-inch transmission line crossing Pennsylvania, including four municipalities in Cambria County, is being repurposed to carry some of the by-products from Marcellus and Utica shale production.

    April 20, 2014

  • Judge Creany, Timothy Vets courts gain support

    Signs of success are mostly anecdotal in Pennsylvania’s special courts for veterans, but judicial officials and lawmakers are so convinced of the program, they’re lobbying to expand it.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • pow21 Person of the Week: ‘I wanted to help’: Teen uses birthday to show love for children, animals

    Anastasia Machik’s love for children and animals inspired her to forgo her birthday gifts for the sake of the two.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Students taking steps to call attention to child abuse

    An upcoming community walk will help raise awareness of child abuse.

    April 20, 2014

  • In brief: PennDOT reports weekly work schedule

    April 20, 2014

  • District Deaths April 21, 2014

    April 20, 2014

  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014


Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads