Committee on Information Technology

Annual Report to the Faculty

Academic Year 2003-2004


1. E-mail virus issues: Virus attacks through email continued to be a problem for IS, even with the implementation of the Sophos software program for server-side scanning of incoming emails for virus signatures. Normally detecting about 4000 virus-laden emails per week, during one peak attack, Sophos detected over 250,000 virus emails in one week during a world-wide virus outbreak. CIT considered and approved a recommendation to turn off both the alert sent by the software to recipients when an incoming email virus was detected and the alert sent to the email sender address when a virus was detected. The latter case was included because many of the virus emails were using forged addresses, and the alerts were causing needless concern among our user community.


2. Recommendation for email scanning to identify “Spam” email: This year marks the first time that over half of all internet email is junk (“spam”) email. Measures must be taken to ensure that email continues to be a valuable resource for the Wake Forest community. In addition to endorsing the use of email “filtering” software on the ThinkPad computers, CIT considered and approved a recommendation to install software on the WFU email server which stops spam email from flooding the Reynolda campus network. The commercial software, Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS) is a subscription service that maintains a list of Internet addresses of known, high-volume “spammers” and returns undelivered any email from those sites. Later in the year, CIT considered and approved a recommendation to install Mail Scanner on the Wake Forest email server. Mail Scanner can identify likely junk email and mark it as such. All marked mail will be delivered to the user, but the ThinkPad email clients will be configured to separate the marked email into a separate folder for user inspection and/or deletion.


3. Re-engineering the WFU network: The Reynolda campus network is moving from a 10Mbit/sec to a 100Mbit/sec network which will be segmented by building and will contain internal firewalls at strategic locations. The outcome should be a network that will be much easier to manage and control. The network will also implement new wireless protocols, including the popular 802.11b/g. Wireless will be the primary method of connectivity in classrooms and the secondary method of connectivity elsewhere on campus. The wired jacks for students in classrooms will be inactive once wireless is in place, but wired jacks for instructors’ podiums will remain active, as will wired jacks in labs. There will also be public access points in selected campus locations, which will provide internet access but will restrict access to the campus network. CIT considered and approved a new Wireless Spectrum Management Policy, which will be promulgated by Information Systems.


4. Information Technology Security Policy: Federal legislation (the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999) requires that institutions, including higher education, establish policies for securing personal information, such as social security numbers, financial information, class grades, etc. CIT considered and approved the Wake Forest University Policy on Information Security, which will be promulgated by Information Systems.


5. BlackBoard Courses Policies: CIT considered and approved a recommendation from the BlackBoard support team relating to course backup and retention policy. The popularity and stability of the BlackBoard system has led to the storage of a large number of courses on-line. Stored courses which are no longer being used are beginning to affect system performance. The policy will be distributed by ITC to the BlackBoard instructional community.


6. New Thinkpad Configuration: CIT approved the configuration of the new IBM R51 ThinkPad, which includes the following features: 768MB memory, Intel Pentium M 1.5GHz processor, 15” LCD screen, 32MB Video memory, combination CD writer/DVD-RW writer, 80GB Hard Drive, 2 USB ports, 1 IEEE1394 (Firewire) port, modem, internal wireless 802.11a/b/g.