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Malware Enters School Computer Network

In the last week of January 2008, the computer network of Janesville School District got affected by a malicious piece of computer programming. malware entered into the computer network, but no loss of information or data was reported.

Doug Bunton, the Director of Business Services, said, as reported by gazettextra.com on January 28, 2008, that though the data that belong to the district is not lost by the malware intrusion, but the data that belonged to individuals may have been lost in the form of files on which the individuals were working when their machines shut down. He said that the district's network is linked to around 3,500 computers.

The malware is programmed in a way that it not only loads unwanted programs on a computer in order to access personal information, but is also designed in a way that it breaches the security norms. Bunton further added that the malware, which is known as "data packet", cannot be classified as a virus as it does not replicate itself. The malware functions by locking up all the computers linked to the district network. Sometimes it also shut down the system, restarts it, or flashes false error messages.

Though Bunton agrees that the firewall integrated into the district's computer always tries to stop such attacks always, but sometimes the firewall slips detecting a malware and at that time, the "data packet" makes use of the flaw in the operating system of Microsoft Windows.

However, the "data packet" is a very poorly designed malware which has been designed to cause chaos. As the malware is made up of a small component, it can hide itself anywhere in the registry and can re-install itself again after it has been removed.

The new manager of district's information systems, Brandon Keirns, commented in a statement published by gazettextra.com on January 28, 2008 that the malware can enter a computer through an e-mail or a website while downloading something. Keirns agreed that the malware entered and spread throughout the district, but it didn't harm all computers.

Keirns said that Microsoft has installed "fix" to put an end to the "Data packet". He continued that as malware is increasing in volume, the security from these viruses has now become the chief concern.

Related article: Malware Authors Turn More Insidious

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