ResNet works to find viruses

Meranda Watling

Internet may be blocked for some

Brandi Chenault couldn’t log on to the Internet from her Allerton apartment for two days before she realized her connection was off.

“They didn’t tell me,” the junior integrated health studies major said. “You know, they had that huge outage, so for two days, I just thought that’s why my Internet wasn’t working.”

Chenault eventually called ResNet to find out why she couldn’t log on. She said they told her she had a virus and had to bring her computer in for them to scan.

More than 80 students’ Internet connections are currently disabled, LAN administrator Chuck Balazs said.

About 30 machines are currently being worked on by ResNet staff. So far this semester, they have seen about 150 to 175 computers, Balazs said.

Because of the time it takes to scan and clean the computers, the wait is currently two to three days.

“It has slowed down,” Balazs said. “It’s tapering off.”

Network Services scans the network to check for computers that are port-scanning, or scanning the network, in ways that normal computers don’t, Balazs said. It’s a sign that the user might be infected with a virus, so the connection is disabled to protect other users.

“When Network Services blocks their port, they’re blocked completely from the network,” he said. “Otherwise, they would be able to scan the network. We have to block them to protect other users’ computers — to keep them from infecting others.”

When Network Services disables a connection, ResNet is notified but doesn’t have the resources to notify every student. Balazs said they usually call when they realize the connection is blocked and are told to bring the computer in.

“We do as much as possible, but it’s not really routine to go through and notify everyone,” Balazs said. “We spend more time trying to clean the machines we have down there.


“We’ve had students that got blocked and were apparently not concerned. They don’t bring it down for quite some time.”

Last semester, there were similar problems when students returned from break, he said.

“We had huge numbers of people blocked,” he said. “The ResNet office was backed up half the semester. There was a good five-day wait.”


That’s not reassuring to Chenault, who has had her connection disabled twice before. When she got her computer back after three days, they hadn’t actually found a virus, she said.

“It was really inconvenient,” Chenault said. “I’m taking college algebra, so I’m taking the Gateway test. I needed to take the practice tests online. I work late, so I couldn’t go to the computer lab.”

But her real problem was that they didn’t tell her.

“I think it’s stupid,” Chenault said. “They should at least call you and tell you your Internet isn’t working.”

Contact technology reporter Meranda Watling at [email protected].