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Virus Eats School District's Homework

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the will-this-be-on-the-test? dept.

Education 321

theodp writes "Forget about 'snow days' — the kids in the Lake Washington School District could probably use a few 'virus days.' Laptops issued to each student in grades 6-12 were supposed to accelerate learning ('Schools that piloted the laptops found that students stayed engaged nad [sic] organized whiel [sic] boosting creativity,' according to the district's Success Stories), but GeekWire reports that a computer virus caused havoc for the district as it worked its way through the Windows 7 computers, disrupting class and costing the district money — five temporary IT staff members were hired to help contain the virus. Among the reasons cited for the school district's choice of PCs over Macs were the proximity to Microsoft HQ (Redmond is in the district), Microsoft's involvement in supporting local and national education, and last but not least, cost. In the past, the Lake Washington School District served as a Poster Child of sorts for Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group."

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321 comments

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Looks like the school district (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#42127903)

Looks like the school district leaned a valuable lesson ... oh wait!

Re:Looks like the school district (2)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128017)

... all the while trying to save "cost" :-)

Re:Looks like the school district (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128209)

... all the while trying to save "cost" :-)

I'm not sure how it would have cost them any less if they'd have gone with an Apple-branded OS. Or even Linux for that matter.
Despite what the summary and school says, technically this was a Trojan which drops a backdoor into the system. It's been detectable by all the major AV software vendors for a very long time, the earliest variants were from back in the old DOS days.

Since the school can't even manage to spell properly, I'm going to assume that what happened was something like this:
Child A: "I heard this is cool, let's open it up!"
Child B: "But it keep says there's a warning. I can't get it to install."
Child C: "I already have it. I have a friend on Facebook called p3d0b3ar who sent it to me last week. Here's how to make the warning go away."
Child A & B: "Cool! Let's help all our friends install it too!"

Re:Looks like the school district (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128255)

Most likely scenario there.

That is exactly what happened to my little brother's laptop, and then by extension, my parents' desktop. Of course it was my fault, despite being 600 miles away and having multiple malware-free machines running in my apartment.

Re:Looks like the school district (1, Informative)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128281)

It would have cost them less, because they'd have been a lot less likely to even come across a trojan compatible with their system.

"I can't get it to install"..? You mean people don't know how to click "run" or "ok" or whatever UAC says?

Re:Looks like the school district (2, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128291)

"Here's how to make the warning go away."

If only it were that difficult.

I got a virus last week because I was trying to install MS antivirus on a machine. Microsoft Security Essentials requires a WGA check and it failed for some reason (don't know why - it was a perfectly legal machine).

Anyway, I went to Google to see if I could find a workaround and ... the very first page I visited installed a virus on the machine. No warnings, no permissions asked for. Some system dialog or other flashed up then ten seconds later I was looking at one of those "Police! Your computer has been locked!" screens (and the prospect of another Late Night With Windows(TM)).

Catching a virus by trying to install an anti-virus? Only with "Trustworthy Computing"....

Re:Looks like the school district (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128533)

What browser were you using? I install Chrome before I go searching for things like anti-virus :p

Re:Looks like the school district (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128553)

What browser were you using?

Guess...! [youtube.com]

Re:Looks like the school district (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128689)

yahoo was serving out an ad recently that installed that fake police send us paypal money to get your machine back thing...

It went right thru the newest firefox with an av and with noscript installed! i'm still not sure how it did that... not even ctrl-alt-del worked. nothing worked but rebooting to safemode. removing all the crap it loaded into the users\temp folders. and removing the entrys in the msconfig startup...

i don't feel like screwing around with it enough to figure out how it did it... i just completely blocked all yahoo sites instead. fuckem. they never had shit anyway. (other than some of their stock chart tools)

it was a good time to infect too... over the holiday weekend.. i bet they made a ton of cash.

Re:Looks like the school district (3, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128345)

"I'm not sure how it would have cost them any less if they'd have gone with an Apple-branded OS. Or even Linux for that matter."

Just a wild stab in dark but perhaps they wouldn't have ended up with a trojan on all their systems because OS/X and Linux have better security.

Re:Looks like the school district (2)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128391)

But where is the Linux Trustworthy Computing initiative? You see...

Re:Looks like the school district (1, Flamebait)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128595)

Why do kids have permission to install anything on a school PC? Hell, why are they even allowed to download executables? Someone failed at setting these computers up properly, that's for sure. For a school PC they don't even need Java or Flash (if they really need Youtube, enable HTML5 video) or Acrobat Reader (get a less common PDF reader).

Re:Looks like the school district (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128463)

As someone who has worked in an Apple district, the cost savings with going with Apple comes from the support model. It takes less resources (people) to manage Apple branded machines if designed properly. Those other resources can go into training teachers on how to use technology effectively in the classroom. The war between Mac and Windows was over long ago. Kids today don't care which platform they use. They have always will and and have a computer, so what version of Word they type their papers in, doesn't phase them. People need to get over this whole Mac vs PC thing and look at the bigger picture.

Is it 10 years already? (3, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42127917)

There once was this thing, the "trustworty computing" pledge. [theregister.co.uk]

What happened to that?

Re:Is it 10 years already? (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42127961)

It may be enough time to put a man on the moon but it's apparently not long enough to clean up MS Windows (even if Microsoft did compare their project to the Apollo one).

Re:Is it 10 years already? (4, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42127967)

The trust is for the media cartels. They don't trust users not to copy their media, so Microsoft sold them the idea of computing they could trust.

The "End to End Trust" initiative is all about this - removing the computer's trust that it's owner should have control, and handing that trust to the people with the root signing keys - Microsoft will become indispensable to the entire Windows software ecosystem. The ultimate rent-seeking behaviour.

The Computer doesn't trust you [gnu.org] .

Re:Is it 10 years already? (4, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128129)

Journalists raised a hue and cry about the end times because TC was implemented by Microsoft.

In the meantime, Apple came in and implemented the same spec and the same journalists fell over each other extolling the virtues of the walled garden.

Re:Is it 10 years already? (4, Insightful)

Raumkraut (518382) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128237)

Perhaps it's the difference between inviting people into your walled garden, and building a wall around the people in your already highly populated garden?

Re:Is it 10 years already? (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128647)

Sorry, posting to cancel error in modding...(damn this 'instant' button)

Mod up someone, please

Re:Is it 10 years already? (1)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128395)

Antitrust.

Can I be the first to say that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42127921)

They learned their lesson!

*bad dum tss*

hey M$FT shills its time........ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42127929)

seriously ....how much do you get paid to write here?
is it a lot?
how many times do you have to do it to get paid ?
can you just copy& paste or do you get more for seeming like you are telling engaging people in real conversation
its a serious question

And Linux? (5, Interesting)

Arrepiadd (688829) | about a year and a half ago | (#42127931)

Among the reasons cited for the school district's choice of PCs over Mac's were (...) cost.

And yet Linux was never an option? Avoided Apple to reduce the cost and ended up hiring 5 people to contain the damage that came as a consequence of their choice... way to go!

Re:And Linux? (2)

aliquis (678370) | about a year and a half ago | (#42127943)

^ What I wanted to say.

Sure they shouldn't buy macs. But if they worry about viruses they don't need to get Windows machines just because of that.

Also is it really that hard to keep a Windows machine free of viruses? All the kids installed the same crap?

Re:And Linux? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42127957)

Also is it really that hard to keep a Windows machine free of viruses? All the kids installed the same crap?

It's as hard to keep a Windows machine free of viruses as it is to keep a Linux machine from shitting itself on boot.

For your average Slashdotter: It's not even a question.

For your average computer user: There is no hope.

Complete bollocks there. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42127981)

Never had a problem with Linux shitting itself on boot.

Not even sure what that is. POST failure? Driver crash on initialisation? Because the first isn't the OS and the latter I've seen in Windows as often as I've seen in Linux.

For your average MS troll, you've done really REALLY badly.

Re:Complete bollocks there. (0)

hughbar (579555) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128109)

Yes, so agree with this. Most of my Linux computers are from about 2003 -2005, a couple of them are 365/24 servers [so infrequent boots, fair enough] but everything boots just fine. The only Windows in da house now is for test installs etc. I don't actually USE it for anything much.

Re:Complete bollocks there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128487)

For your average MS troll, you've done really REALLY badly.

MS troll? Uh, okay. Given that I regularly use Linux (RHEL, specifically these days), OS X, Windows and Solaris.

Whatever dude. The average person interacting with a computer has no fucking clue, and will manage to fuck things up. Hell, give me an unprivileged user account with shell access, and I'll prevent that account from being able to properly log in without administrator intervention and file restoration.

Hurr durr leenucks isn't a fucking solution when the problem exists between the chair and keyboard, you moronic wretches.

Re:And Linux? (2)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128005)

It's as hard to keep a Windows machine free of viruses as it is to keep a Linux machine from shitting itself on boot.

I've only seen Linux not booting two times in 6+ years of using it: The first was faulty hardware which caused SEGFAULTS. The second was a damaged home-partition. From all the arguments you could come up with, this is the least viable. ... At least say "...as it is to keep Linux from randomly killing X", that at least sounds believable.

Re:And Linux? (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128221)

It is a bit hard. Not for me... not for people with self control and a little understanding of what goes on out there. The weak link is humans.

But that said, there is some blame in the design of Windows. I think the Apache web server needs to be stripped of its name to have it awarded to Windows. I think it might make Windows cooler somehow.

People want to claim there is no original code from DOS/Windows in the current versions of Windows. That may be true. Part of the problem is design. It still harbors the design of a single user, single tasking OS which was added upon for more than a decade of incremental changes, patches and fearure improvements, one after the other after the other. It's amazing it's not messier than it already is.

Would you rather drive a car that started out as a go-cart or a car which started out with stability and security in mind when the plans were drawn up?

Microsoft didn't have a plan in mind for Windows when it created DOS. It didn't even have Windows95 in mind when it created Windows 3. It's all a pile on top of a pile on top of a pile.

Re:And Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128039)

No kidding, if I was setting up a school network and got to choose the OS I would choose Linux without a moment of hesitation. It's the only OS out of the 30 or so I've used over the years that doesn't require expensive 3rd party software just to restrict users rights into something sane enough to put teenagers at the keyboard.

One of these days people will use Linux or something very similar to it as the defacto standard for such networks, they will look back and laugh at how silly it was to force a square peg through a round hole.

Re:And Linux? (1)

wallbase (2773553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128153)

One of these days people will use Linux or something very similar to it as the defacto standard for such networks, they will look back and laugh at how silly it was to force a square peg through a round hole.

You're living in a dreamworld. Linux has been around for a sufficiently long time and it still hasn't... fucking... happened. There's too much inertia for Windows and too little impact (on the desktop) for Linux.

But I'm happy to be proven wrong.

Re:And Linux? (1)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128413)

Just a matter of investment and product quality. Build a resilient developer ecosystem, port your code to LLVM, go for extreme testing. I think it would be about 50 Mio $ to get it perfect.

Re:And Linux? (2)

BenoitRen (998927) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128459)

It would actually be a matter of making Linux not suck as a desktop OS.

Define the bits making it suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128617)

Or is this merely your method of saying nothing whilst appearing wise?

Re:And Linux? (2)

fatphil (181876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128667)

If by that you mean "make Linux suitable for droolers who can do little more than click on the nearest flashing brighly-coloured thing on the screen", then that might help. However, as this was supposed to be a school, teaching the kids to be intelligent problem-solvers rather than braindead pondlife could be considered the better thing to do.

That's because of people like you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128503)

because 10 years ago, you were saying "Linux has been around for a sufficiently long time and it still hasn't happened".

PS It has happened.

Just not where you live.

Re:And Linux? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128059)

Having an IT staff for a program this big is pretty much a necessity which they should have thought of before launching it.

Re:And Linux? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128523)

From the way the summary is written ("temporary IT staff members") I make up they have a permanent IT staff of more than one already.

Re:And Linux? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128415)

Cost != Purchase price.

No, they are to close to Redmond (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128705)

I heard that if you buy a Mac, Ballmer comes to your house and dances the Developer dance in your garden. If you install linux, he dances naked.

Please think of your neighbors, install Windows.

On a more serious note, this was a MS project, MS is not going to install linux... well except for when they need a reliable stable server platform to host a project.

PC over Mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42127963)

Oh, so there are only two choices right ?
If the children would have access to something where somebody not part of a giant corporation has access to source code it's obviously a bad idea....
And of course they absolutelly need to be trained "to be ready for the industry", wich they will join in about 5 to 15 years...
So they get what the industry was supposed to adopt a couple of years ago... and will learn that there is only "one true way"....

Well it's just the usual morons making the usual moronic decisions....

Meanwhile I wonder how long it will take them to fix the typo in the lack of success story...

Oh really? (4, Insightful)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | about a year and a half ago | (#42127971)

...and last but not least, cost.

Wait...Windows 7-Ready hardware, Windows 7 Licensing Costs AND 5 additional IT-employees and they choose Microsoft because "it costs less"?! I seriously need to get a job in the public sector, seems like they can jack off all day or something.

Re:Oh really? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128075)

...and last but not least, cost.

Wait...Windows 7-Ready hardware, Windows 7 Licensing Costs AND 5 additional IT-employees and they choose Microsoft because "it costs less"?! I seriously need to get a job in the public sector, seems like they can jack off all day or something.

Uh, you forgot about the part where Redmond is in this district. Chances are all licensing costs were either eliminated or heavily subsidized for education. And Windows 7 "Ready" hardware? Please. That's a $250 i3 with 2GB of RAM in a school budget. Why do you think the PCs are running like frozen dogshit when infected. Nothing in the Apple store is that cheap, or that slow.

still bates (bill gates) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42127973)

LOL MICROSOFT

Make all school districts use Windows! (4, Funny)

ipquickly (1562169) | about a year and a half ago | (#42127987)

Just imagine how many new IT jobs this would create.

Re:Make all school districts use Windows! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128137)

The broken Windows fallacy?

Re:Make all school districts use Windows! (1, Troll)

ipquickly (1562169) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128223)

The broken Windows fallacy?

5 hired IT staff that would have been unnecessary had the school used Linux or Mac say so.

Re:Make all school districts use Windows! (1)

Albinoman (584294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128635)

You can really believe that hiring 5 *temporary* employees to clean up a mess and give some advice costs more than the price difference between a mac (which wouldn't have necessarily fixed this, and mac techs probably cost more) and pc times, what, thousands of laptops?

Re:Make all school districts use Windows! (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128731)

In my experience (mostly big IT companies), the number of windows admins required is nearly 4 times the number of unix admins required, for the same number of desktop machines.

An extreme example was the last job I had, where there was a typical level of windows admins, and there were zero unix admins. Everyone was given a machine with a blank hard drive, and told on their first day to install whatever OS/distro they wanted, and were comfortably running themselves. I guess a third went debian, a third ubuntu, a couple of gentoos, some redhats, and a few others too.

mac's[sic] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42127999)

if you're going to be sic all over someone else's mistakes you'd best read, re-read, and re-read again your own posting. There is no aposorophe involved in pluralising a word.

Re:mac's[sic] (2)

floofyscorp (902326) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128119)

Ohh, the irony.

Re:mac's[sic] (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128285)

I don't even know what an 'aposorophe' is.

Re:mac's[sic] (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128579)

Its prefectly crolument.

Re:mac's[sic] (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128589)

The GP needs to embiggen their vocabulary.

Sick (1)

devnullkac (223246) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128011)

You can't just put "[sic]" next to any random string of characters and expect the reader to understand. What the hell is "whiel boosting creativity" supposed to mean, anyway? Maybe I'm slow this morning, but it took me 5 minutes to see the "while". Brackets can help readers stay engaged [and] informed [while] improving understanding, but this time they failed us.

Re:Sick (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128125)

You're right, but then the joke about education gets lost.

Re:Sick (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128419)

I must add that "sic" should actually be put inside parentheses instead of square brackets.

Re:Sick (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128585)

At least in the US, the convention is to use square brackets.

The real problem (5, Insightful)

bensw (2757251) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128053)

Among other things, TFA implies that this is because they were using 'PCs instead of Macs' [sic].

While it's true that OSX has way less malware than Windows, the main cause of malware infections is the users who click anything that's offered to them without thinking.
You can hide behind less popular operating systems, but the sad truth is that the average computer user simply can't handle the freedom of being able to do whatever they want, without messing things up.

So the solution is better tech education or--the cheaper way--locking things down. Both MS and Apple are doing it in their mobile OSs and they're starting to implement this in their desktop OSs as well.

Of course, the IT could also have locked Windows down with Group Policy and SRP, so that it would be pretty much impossible to install anything (unless reinstalling the OS).
Instead, they relied on some crappy antivirus (Sophos) and I wouldn't be surprised if the users were given admin rights as well.

I'm not a Microsoft fan at all (and they might have played dirty to get the school to use Windows), but the real story here is IT staff incompetence and the poor education of the average computer user.

Re:The real problem (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128197)

"but the sad truth is that the average computer user simply can't handle the freedom of being able to do whatever they want, without messing things up."

The Sad truth is people actually believe you need to allow a user to anything they want. You dont. It's school property, you restrict your users to only what they need the devices for, anything else is simply incompetence.

Re:The real problem (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128295)

"but the sad truth is that the average computer user simply can't handle the freedom of being able to do whatever they want, without messing things up."

The Sad truth is people actually believe you need to allow a user to anything they want. You dont. It's school property, you restrict your users to only what they need the devices for, anything else is simply incompetence.

The user needs to be sandboxed and he can do whatever he likes including install a virus without affecting the system. Sure he destroys his files if he is not careful but he does not destroy the system and he does not destroy the backups.

Limiting a computer in this situation would limit education. Users don't need to run any software above their privileges including IE and Office.

Re:The real problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128239)

yeah... but no...

A windows pc have to be made secure ootb
a macintosh would need to be made insecure

really not in the same leahue even if you try to drown any interesting conversation with vulgar banalities like "it can happen to anybody waarrrglarb"

Re:The real problem (1)

hweimer (709734) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128299)

While it's true that OSX has way less malware than Windows, the main cause of malware infections is the users who click anything that's offered to them without thinking.

No. Any system that can be botched more or less accidentally is a complete failure. While GNU/Linux and to a lesser extent OS X are far from perfect, they make it considerably harder to run untrusted code, simply because this is an operation typically not needed during daily use.

Re:The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128443)

While GNU/Linux and to a lesser extent OS X are far from perfect, they make it considerably harder to run untrusted code, simply because this is an operation typically not needed during daily use.

How, exactly?
The main difference is that for admin stuff by default Windows will pop up a UAC prompt, while Linux will pop up a password prompt.
I don't think that's that much better, especially since you need to enter the password about as often as you need to click on a UAC prompt.

But more importantly, malware doesn't even need root/admin access to do a lot of damage on Windows or Linux. It can easily run with limited rights and steal your passwords or mess up your files.

Re:The real problem (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128623)

How, exactly?
The main difference is that for admin stuff by default Windows will pop up a UAC prompt, while Linux will pop up a password prompt.
I don't think that's that much better, especially since you need to enter the password about as often as you need to click on a UAC prompt.

You seriously don't see a huge difference between a user being asked a yes/no question and having to come up with a password they've never been told? You're ok with a single click being the only rampart between your system files and the raging virus hordes? Wow.

Re:The real problem (1)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128425)

Don't blame them, blame the software.

Re:The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128469)

Even with Group Policy and non-admin accounts it is quite possible to get viruses on Win7. It might be less likely but it does happen.

Re:The real problem (0)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128557)

Windows' mess of not keeping system files and user files strictly separate is partly to blame.

Even in Win7 you all the time get warnings like "this program wants to make changes to your hard disk, allow/deny?". All you have to do is click "allow" and the program runs. What it is changing, I don't know. It appears to give unfettered access to system files - which is totally unnecessary, unless you're running an installer.

While having access to user files only can still give very nasty results (deleting important stuff, for example), trojans have a much harder time to get to a higher level, and to hide themselves while running. Cleaning up is a lot easier, too.

The problem was (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128079)

They probably shipped them with the free carpware virus checker and some kid told his friends how to turn it off, in order to load the game crack for some game that had a virus on board.
It's not the platform at fault, but the schools poor project management and lack of computing skills employed.
I've seen this sort of thing many times.

Re:The problem was (2)

MadKeithV (102058) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128673)

They probably shipped them with the free carpware virus checker.

Carpware? Sounds fishy.

Need to teach the kids proper browsing habits (3, Interesting)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128117)

Viruses are easy to take out of the system, but that doesn't stop the same behavior that puts the virus there in the first place.

Example: A friend of mine I end up fixing his laptop for viruses usually gets them because his kids are looking for TV shows and gets sent to sites that want them to download something. Boom, infected. Looking for a youtube/Disney/Hulu video downloading, boom! Infected.

I don't care too much because I get paid. And getting rid of the viruses/whatever is as easy as taking the harddrive out of the computer and hooking it to an already running computer (via usb-ide/sata adaptor), and run a few programs. Takes a few hours, or more depending on the size of the harddrive and how much space is taken up. But very, very easy to fix.

Re:Need to teach the kids proper browsing habits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128205)

Viruses are easy to take out of the system,

Um... you'll never know if you get them all. All your suppositions that you are "clean" are based on software you didn't write and likely don't have access to the source. And you know what's even easier? Abandoning the broken platform for one that isn't susceptable, such as Linux or OS X. Who gives a shit if it's "easy," when over the life of that machine you'll spend exponentially more proc cycles and hd spins fucking with a broken system?

I don't care too much because I get paid. And getting rid of the viruses/whatever is as easy as taking the harddrive out of the computer and hooking it to an already running computer (via usb-ide/sata adaptor), and run a few programs. Takes a few hours, or more depending on the size of the harddrive and how much space is taken up. But very, very easy to fix.

You are an arrogant fool and your employers are too for allowing you to continue being employed. Why tear apart the hardware like that? Ever heard of a live cd? I think you better rethink your expertise, because IMO, it's garbage. I wouldn't let you anywhere near my hardware.

Re:Need to teach the kids proper browsing habits (4, Insightful)

krenaud (1058876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128245)

I have given my kids restricted user accounts on their Windows computers and so far they haven't managed to infect the computers. Setting up a Windows machine with restricted accounts, Foxit reader as PDF reader, Chrome as web browser and flash block plugin installed has done the trick for me so far. For the same price as a Mac I get a PC + iPad + spare change.

bios malware? (1)

reiisi (1211052) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128471)

I take it you don't believe in the existence of malware that can over-write the BIOS?

No. Need to teach admins proper admining habits. (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128583)

From reading a quick description on how the virus works... This school seems to have no fucking clue what AD/GPO/LUA means. It sounds like the notebooks can either copy files to each other over the network or students can copy .exe's to the network servers. Fail 1. It also sounds like the students are running without least user authorization, aka, they can get admin access to their computers easy, or they already have it. Fail 2, maybe. It could have been a teacher who got it and was allowed to write stuff to places that was dangerous and because of poor AD layout allowed it to get everywhere. Fail 2 again, maybe. Of course maybe the teachers or students didn't start spreading it and some dipshit admin got it in the first place and managed to get it in a directory that the GPO launches a startup script. Major Fail 2 if this happened. Other then the last one, I still don't understand how it would have launched and ran unless the students could run as admin, this virus needs to write to the Windows directory. Honestly there are so many more possible fails here, I'll give up even trying to list them.

The district has 25,000 computers, if even 10% of them is infected with this, it's not very easy to fix just due to the size of the job. At worst taking 25,000 hard drives out of laptops is an insane job. Better to have a linux or maybe a PE cd of some sort that boots and auto tackles the infection. Or, really, backup all the kids non-exe files and nuke from orbit with a fresh install image.

Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128177)

Why didn't they just use one of those education oriented Linux distro instead of windows? Not like they will need specific windows applications to do homeworks or classwork.

It's not my fault! (1)

qazsedcft (911254) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128183)

The virus ate my homework!

How about they.... (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128189)

Hire COMPETENT IT staff to begin with? Honestly, what kind of amateur hour school is this? having to hire temp IT staff to deal with it, really? how about actually staffing your departments properly and with competent staff?

Re:How about they.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128333)

Competent staff AND remove those who aren't letting those staff do a proper job.

You can be dictating to the IT department that students have to be able to do X when X means eliminating the defenses. At the same time the defense mechanisms shouldn't need to block users from writing code or leaning about the software they use. It's called GNU/Linux. It's called learning. Unfortunately that isn't what education is. At least not in the United States. Education is more like babysitting and shoving propaganda down kids throats.. “Drugs are bad! Sex is bad! We live in a free society” but of course reality is completely different. Kids are locked in prisons all day without any freedoms or rights and made to participate in totally unnecessary activities such as gym/exercise/art/music/computers/and other classes that are non-essential. I'm not proposing the elimination of programs that promote the arts/music/computers/exercise although setting up the school day for non-learning and/or non-critical life activities and then requiring every student to participate in them is wrong.

Re:How about they.... (4, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128385)

"Drugs are bad!"

Depends which drugs. Cannabis? Not so bad. Crack cocaine or meth? Hell yes!

"Kids are locked in prisons all day without any freedoms or rights"

Oh get over yourself. Kids are made to go to school because if left to their own devices 90% of them would learn NOTHING. And kids DON'T have the same rights as adults so stop sulking about it just because you probably didn't like school much.

"totally unnecessary activities such as gym/exercise/art/music/computers/and other classes that are non-essential."

Yeah , I mean who wants a country full of fat bastards with heart disease to get fit. I'm mean thats just cruel isn't it? As for other stuff, peh! Learning, who needs it eh when you can be a troll on slashdot all your life instead?

"setting up the school day for non-learning and/or non-critical life activities and then requiring every student to participate in them is wrong."

No, it isn't. But perhaps when you become an adult you'll realise why.

Re:How about they.... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128335)

What I find curious about a need for temp IT staff is this:

If you are doing a deployment of that size(unless the district is a 1 room schoolhouse or something, "grades 6-12, all students" is a fair number of laptops), you will need some sort of system imaging setup, to plunk your OS and applications on new machines/machines that lost an HDD, you will need a decent number of lowish-skilled screwdriver labor to keep up with all the physical damage and parts replacements, and you will likely need some basic network infrastructure so that OS updates get delivered and user documents aren't languishing on fragile laptop hard drives without some sort of backup to the fileserver.

Now, if you have all that stuff, and you run into a virus that whatever AV software you were running couldn't handle, what's the problem? Break the laptops down into logical groups(by grade, by homeroom, whatever) draft all your hardware fix-it guys, and re-image one group at a time. Annoying? Yes. Catastrophic? Not really.

Re:How about they.... (1)

bn-7bc (909819) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128351)

Good point, why does the students have admin rights on school issued laptops (they should not need it any-more unless the run an outdated windows version, correct?)

Re:How about they.... (4, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128447)

Hi, school IT tech here. I'm all for a pay rise! How about we raise your taxes so I can get one? Don't like that idea, right? Maybe take some money out of health care? Sanitation? Policing?

Yeah... I didn't think so. After four years, I make around 60% of what I would in the private sector starting wage for the same job. Guess what, though! Jobs are scarce, so I can't afford to be picky. Yes, I'm good at what I do (and I've done great things for this school), but by no means is the public sector all green fields and pork barrel funding. We're more cash-strapped than you can imagine (I'm having to buy cheaper asset labels, for pity's sake).

Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128191)

They could have also chosen Linux laptops and hired 1 person to support the users and teach them about backups.

That would have be cheaper and if the new hire add some skills he could even taught programming using Python or PHP straight on the laptops.

Oh wait, that would actually worked on the direction of the students instead of the system...

People psyhology... (1)

Pecisk (688001) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128195)

...is not leaded by logic, but by "evil you know" decision chain. Therefore no matter how many homeworks Windows will eat, it will stay.

just issue them condoms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128339)

Its the best way to contain a virus.. They are going to do it anyway.

Why is ANY school district still using Win/Mac? (0)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128403)

This could and should have been prevented by installing Linux - which is free - on all student and faculty/staff computers. With education costs soaring, going with the name brand (which is also less secure) is no longer an excuse.

Growth In College Tuition Vs. Growth In Earnings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128481)

Re:Why is ANY school district still using Win/Mac? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128525)

This could and should have been prevented by installing Linux - which is free - on all student and faculty/staff computers. With education costs soaring, going with the name brand (which is also less secure) is no longer an excuse.

Both Apple and Microsoft should not charge a damn dime for software used for education. Zero. Zilch. Nothing. Not even on the principals computer. One of these days they'll realize this.

You forgot to mention the main downside with running Linux in education. It does nothing to prepare them for the corporate world, where standardized packages (MS Office) and Windows OS still remain dominant. Learning the tools is part of this learning curve as well. Your "less secure" argument is questionable, as many OSes can be properly secured with competent IT staff (which was clearly the shortfall here).

So they'll be using Win8 in 2017-2020? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128669)

Or is it going to be as useless to them as you paint Linux as in training them for vocational computer use?

PS when did schools become apprenticeship courses for businesses so they can skip training staff?

Re:Why is ANY school district still using Win/Mac? (2)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128687)

I'm sorry, but if you can't make the transition from LibreOffice to MS Office fairly easily, you won't be very productive in the "corporate world" anyway. I mean, most people coming straight from college have likely never used Pivot tables or VB macros or whatever advanced Excel features the corporation is using, so you'll be training them anyway. Then again, I'm amazed at how many corporations employ people to do work that a shell script could (and should) be doing instead.

Re:Why is ANY school district still using Win/Mac? (3, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128615)

There used to be this expression "no-one ever got fired for buying IBM". Buy IBM, and you're safe; if it still breaks you can always say "well I went with what everybody does, what is generally considered a good choice, so I did the best I could". By buying some no-name brand, or brandless hardware, you don't have this excuse. Then it's instantly your responsibility.

Same for Microsoft vs Linux. Linux is "that hacker platform" while Windows is "what all businesses use". It's the safe choice - from a job security pov. We know Linux is statistically more stable and secure than Windows, but if it goes wrong, it's the fault of the guy going for the alternative, off the beaten track, and insisting of going against what the rest of the world does.

Or for the obligatory car analogy: Linux is the self-driving car that reacts faster, is more alert, won't speed, stops for red lights, and has a perfect accident record, while Windows is the human driven car. When one of the human drivers has yet another accident, that's too bad, humans aren't perfect. When the self-driving car has an accident, that's a disaster, totally unacceptable and why isn't there a human at the wheel paying attention to correct those mistakes.

Switch OSes, that's the ticket! (1)

vistapwns (1103935) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128547)

Just like that time I caught a cold from being around people, then I moved to Antarctica and stopped being around people. No more colds! Hah!

Competency begins at the top (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128555)

I ran for school board in my district (Georgia - frightful place educationally) so my takeaway from this was "Yeah. Didn't expect anything better once I saw the typos in the banner on their brag page.".
My kid brought home the school printed report card page. In big, bold print at the top was "Reprot Card". I seriously don't expect a large organization who cares so little about their professional appearance as to not proofread their public presentation material to make any wise choices about the really complicated stuff like technology.

Non-story: 90% still up and running (1)

concealment (2447304) | about a year and a half ago | (#42128609)

“As far as learning time, we aren’t losing any,” Reith said. “We still have about 90 percent of our equipment up and running. Teachers are being flexible with what tools they use and how they approach a particular lesson.”

Translating from media hype: someone did something foolish on a computer, then got a new virus which spread quickly, but it hasn't been the end of the world. In fact, it seems contained. Weird how it's the worst possible virus. Funny how this just happened to happen at this school right in the shadow of Redmond. I'd look at dissatisfied employees.

Fanboys everywhere! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128681)

Love the idiots who say "mac" was available. Yeah, dummy, they get viruses too. Same with the umbuntu offshoots.
                You start with the laws. "Viruses" are a proof of concept. And be able to charge the offender, the spreader/creator/propogator of bad code. Programers, know this concept. Bad code, gigo, etc. bad code, like bad science, should go to "jail". You should be able to determine with a degree of certainity who started a "rogue/bad"program. You should be able to charge the "releaser/injector" of the program for the monitary damages incurred by their code intrusion, Just the way the italian courts have done with their bad science case this year.

Speaking of educational failures... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42128699)

PCs over Mac's

Speaking of educational failures, WHO THE FUCK PLURALIZES WORDS WITH A GODDAMN APOSTROPHE?

Seriously - if you're going to deliberately highlight syntax fuckups in the district's materials it *might* be helpful to proofread the submission carefully...

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