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UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 10 | Nov. 4, 2004

Campus-Wide Anti-Virus Program Saves Money and Grief

By Brian Lin

It’s like a giant virtual condom that covers more than 400 hectares of land and extends its protection remotely throughout the Lower Mainland.

The analogy may be crass, but the cost-savings -- at more than $12 million a year in lost productivity for faculty and staff alone -- leaves no doubt about the significance of the first major initiative rolled out by UBC’s newly established IT Security Office.

Starting this fall, the IT Security Office is making anti-virus and anti-spam software available to all 50,000 UBC students, faculty and staff free of charge. The offer also extends to the user’s home / personal computers.

“For a community as large and diverse as UBC, spam and viruses present not just a nuisance but a significant financial strain,” says Jens Haeusser, manager of IT Security, who estimates 50-70 per cent of all e-mail received at UBC is spam or virus messages.

“UBC e-mail users often spend more than 10 minutes a day dealing with spam alone,” says Haeusser. “That, combined with computer virus infections, makes up an estimated $12 million in lost productivity each year.”

The software, provided by international anti-virus company Sophos, is already being used in more than 1,500 campuses in 30 countries. Customized to work seamlessly through UBC’s high-speed and wireless networks, the software automatically downloads updates every hour to protect against the latest viruses, Trojans, worms and spyware so that “a virus ate my homework” will no longer be a viable excuse.

Costing an estimated $500,000, the three-year program has already met with great popularity. To date, over 3,000 copies of the software have been downloaded.

UBC students, faculty and staff can get copies of the software by visiting http://download.ubc.ca/. Authentication requires a campus-wide login username and password, which can be obtained at http://www.cwl.ubc.ca.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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