Colleges move to thwart internet viruses

Friday, 5 September 2003, 10:43 AM EST

Still recovering from a summer of Internet infections, colleges are taking unusually aggressive steps to protect campus computer networks from virus outbreaks.

Students returning to classes are finding themselves summarily unplugged if their computers are infected. Oberlin College in Ohio is threatening to fine students $25 for inadvertently spreading a virus.

"When you're drowning you try to do something quick," said John Bucher, Oberlin's director of information technology. "We're really stressed by this whole thing." Bucher said the network suffered "near meltdown" on Aug. 21, when the first returning students arrived on campus with badly infected computers.

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