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Sunday June 4, 2006

UTM spent RM500,000 to fight virus attacks


JOHOR BARU: The war against computer viruses does not come cheap. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has spent close to RM500,000 on cyber security protection. 

The university also conducted a month long campaign on anti-virus awareness among its administration staff in April. 

UTM Centre for ICT director Prof Zamri Mohamad said the campaign included the installation of hardware and software protection as well as updating the operating systems (OS). 

“We also arranged for talks on healthy ICT lifestyle for our staff so that they realise it may not be safe to visit sites that are not secure,” he said, adding that the university currently had 10 servers alone for anti-virus protection which were updated daily.  

The Star had reported on Thursday that the university had been facing a spate of virus attacks that targeted around 6,000 computers belonging to both the university and students.  

Prof Zamri said the university also conducted demonstrations on how computers should be maintained and created a website, www.antivirus.utm.my, through the intranet system. 

Students with their own personal computers have also been encouraged to obtain the anti-virus protection from the university free of charge. 

UTM was also looking towards moving its entire software system from Windows to Open Source as there were fewer viruses created for it.  

Prof Zamri said that with viruses and hackers getting increasingly sophisticated, the idea of owning a computer was not the same as owning a radio. 

“It is more like owning a car as you need to learn how to operate it. You also need to constantly service and upgrade it,” he said. 

According to him, UTM was considering the possibility of making its students and staff obtain a “licence” before they are allowed to use the computers on campus.  

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