Moravian College Turns to Appliance To Deter Malware and Botnet Activity

Moravian College has deployed a Webgate appliance from Mi5 Networks to protect the campus network from Web threats including spyware, botnets, viruses, and other malware. Moravian also selected Webgate for its ability to identify and quarantine botnet-controlled machines and perform unattended disinfection of compromised systems.

"Given the amount of Web traffic that flows through our campus network, filtering for malware using a proxy-based system was significantly slowing down the user experience for our students and faculty," said James Beers, networking manager and network engineer. "The Mi5 Webgate appliance has eliminated this network bottleneck and dramatically reduced the amount of malware we see. Since we don't own student's machines, we have to balance respect for their privacy while maintaining the security of the network. Webgate allows us to do this by alerting students when they have an infection and allowing them to automatically fix the problem without intervention from our help desk."

The private liberal arts college in Bethlehem, PA chose a Webgate 005 model to replace a proxy-based solution that frequently got bogged down by traffic. Since then, malware infections are down by 60 to 70 percent. Although the college's IT staff manages public machines, they don't control student machines. When compromised machines connect to the campus network, Webgate informs users that their machine is infected and delivers an automated tool that can scan and clean the computer without interrupting their work.

The Mi5 Webgate appliance, which is Linux-based, controls user access to Web sites and applications, while it detects, intercepts, and blocks malicious URLs, active content, spyware, botnets and viruses that users encounter while conducting business through the Web. Webgate pinpoints and shuts down botnets if they are brought onto the network by mobile workers and can perform automated clean-up of infected machines. The Webgate platform performs continuous bi-directional inspection of Web traffic on all ports and protocols at Gigabit speeds. Webgate also provides reporting for security, policy enforcement, and audit compliance.

The campus-wide network supports about 600 college-owned computers and 900 student-owned machines. The networks support Windows 2000, XP Pro, and Vista, as well as Mac OS X and Unix computers.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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