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 PostPost subject: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:49 pm 
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Today, my school's tech. admin banned USB sticks on the basis that .txt files contain viruses. I think not!


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:59 pm 
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Oh yeah!?!?!?!?!?!!

http://www.eicar.org/download/eicar.com.txt


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:07 pm 
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And the file she saw was bootex.log.


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:53 pm 
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technically any file extension could be a virus if not associated to an application properly :)

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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:49 am 
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Although it does sound a bit excessive. Usb sticks are the floppy disks of today and many students rely on them.


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:34 am 
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I wonder when she will ban the internet?

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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:43 am 
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does she even have a degree or does she just happen to be the teacher with the most computer 'knowledge'?


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:13 am 
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or maybe she has the most knowledge out of all teachers in abusing their power.

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Last edited by Thlump on Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:00 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:28 am 
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LOL, we got the same problem here at school. If you want your usb to work, first switch off the computer, connect the usb , and then turn the computer on with the usb connected. I dont know if you will get it working but thats how we do it at school. :D


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:17 pm 
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hahahaha. that's a total laugh. .txt files are viruses ?

/me wonders how many .txt files (s)he has

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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:21 pm 
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First of all one has to know the difference between what a virus, trojan and a worm is. To just talk about "viruses" is enough to question the competence of the person...


Virus

A virus is a piece of software that embeds itself into other software and that has a reproductive capability. When the host software launches the virus reproduces itself by infecting other software files of the same kind, which is more or less only executable files such as .exe, .com. Since .txt-files or any other type of file (.doc, .xml, .pl etc) isn't an executable by itself there is no point to spread to those since these files will never be run in a machine code mode thus not initiating the virus. A virus may have a destructive way of spreading (such as destroying files or locking important files) or they can be completely harmless by only spreading but without doing any harm to the host. This is also the type of malware that is more or less extinct on modern Windows computers because their effect is very limited, someone wanting to do harm on a large scale would rather use a...:


Trojan

A trojan is a piece of software that does not infect executable files like viruses but they are standalone software running in the background. A trojan always have some kind of agenda (think the trojan horse), like downloading other trojans, opening up firewalls, launching various malware or spying on your keystrokes and sending them to an unknown destination on the Internet. Since they do not embed themselves into other files they don't destroy any files, but they can trick you into being a system file by replacing the original file or running a process similar to a system process, all to elude the computer user into thinking it's legitimate. If a trojan doesn't have any real bad intent but only wants to use system vunerabilities to spread around they could be a...:


Worm

A worm shares some features with a virus but with two major differences: they do not embed themselves into programs, and they use the internet to spread. By using known network vunerabilities they replicate themselves into other computers through the network. They most often don't do any damage other than consume network bandwidth but there are exceptions where a worm also deletes system files, or acts like a "zombie" which allows the worm to be controlled by a computer user. The worms can then be used to spread trojans or viruses across a large group of computers.

--

There are other definitions of malware (common name (comes from "malicious" and "software) of software with the intent to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the users awareness or consent) can be backdoors, spyware, rootkits, adware, crimeware but those are more definitions of how the malware acts rather than the type.

So, txt-files can not be malicious since they can't be executed without a host software which itself can be infected, but that doesn't mean the text file is infected. Same goes for every piece of software that needs a host to run such as scripts, excel files (which can contain harmful scripts), documents, image files (which CAN contain bad code but needs a bugged host software to have an effect, so it's more of a used flaw in the host), music files (same applies here as with image files) and all kinds of other files. So if anyone says a text file can be infected then they don't know jack about malware and how they work. Blocking text files is pointless. And any system administrator with some self respect and brains knows how to setup a server/client with proper policies and protection to actively scan and block services that can be used for bad intent.

It's also important to note that also other platforms can be easily infected with malware. Linux machines and Macs are not much more secure than Windows machines but the main reason that these systems are not often infected are because of: Linux users most often have more knowledge, so they will not install software that wants to run itself as root. If you would run everything as root it would be an easy task, but Linux does not do that by default. - Mac users also does not run software as root by default, but here the main reason is most likely a very small user base. The effort in making a successful malware lies in how easy it is to spread it among a large computer population. Since Mac:s are not very common it would simply not be worth it.

With Microsoft abandoning the default administrator mode (like in XP) in Vista (and newer) it will be much more difficult to spread malware. These malwares will most likely be aimed at the user directly by disguising itself as a harmless piece of software like an antivirus software (such as XP Antivirus, Antivirus 2008/2009 etc) and fool the user into installing it with administrative rights. And this can happen just as easily on a Macintosh or Linux system if the malware designer wants to put the effort into designing one.

Remember, the weakest point in any computer system is the user!. As long as the user clicks OK and enters an admin password at request the system will be vunerable. Regardless of platform.

If anything here is wrong please let me know, it's quite a big subject and quite an interesting one.

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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:00 pm 
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mrpijey you hit the nail right on the head there.

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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:18 pm 
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My school is way ahead of you.

Sticks are banned, the internet is heavily censored with sites like Google , Wikipedia blocked,

All media is blocked, you can only use the printer at certain times, and even then, only use up to a certain amount of pages, The Windows Interface itself is heavily crippled, the only things on the start menu are 3 or 4 shortcut items, your personal network folder, and log off. (It is possible to access your network folder from home also, but not many students are shown how to do this. Most students email their assignments to their teacher)

However, the network in the classroom I take is isolated from the rest of the school (we still have internet access) and none of the above is applied to our computers. The IT decisions are also influenced by yours truly, with only one other person higher up on the chain.


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:53 pm 
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Actually, same here. Except the start menu only has Novell Zenworks and Logoff. They censor websites (evil WebSense!). The desktop wallpaper is Soap Bubbles.bmp tiled.


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:26 pm 
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My school has a "okay" system, because there is a site blocker, it looks like this and there is no software involved. Also, all computers login to a domain instead of directly into the computer, so you get the lowest level of privileges. Not that it affects me, I'm probably the only one who knows how to get admin privileges in a computer(but not in a domain :x )

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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:13 am 
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Frankly, as a former school Network Admin, it is a lot better to restrict everything and allow things on a case by case basis. The goal is to let you do what you are supposed to be doing on the computers and NOTHING ELSE. Just like rules on a firewall.

If you truely feel this is an injustice getting in the way of something productive, do your research, make your case, and talk to them. Worst case, they give you viable alternatives to meet your goal. Best case, they remove restrictions that are getting in your way.


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:42 am 
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we removed the restrictions from our network in the TV studio because we needed alot of power for our computers. Not just any old student uses these computers, either, so this is probably considered one of those "case-by-case" basis deals.


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:57 am 
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I had to re-install the whole media lab at my school, and helped setup a domain too.
The best part is that not only did I install DreampackPL on all of them (and add the exception to the McAffee antivirus) but I also installed the ABEL service on almost all of them allowing me to easily dump the SAM table onto my pc before they were added to the domain.
The "IT" person at my school also had me re-install the OS on a few laptop's at school, which allowed me to get the password to the wireless (WZcook) and basically rendered all my hard work exploiting flaw after flaw useless.
XP SP3 disabled DreampackPL (One less thing to do later) and I don't use ABEL any more, since I logged into the school's server and installed the service there so that I can reset the internet connections whenever something goes wrong (which happens alot lately)

I have my laptop at school, and the IT person we paid thought that he was reading things wrong when he saw strange build numbers, or things like Linux showing up for logged in systems on the network. The "IT" lady at my school decided to put in things like restricting the desktop to "My Computer" and the "All Programs" menus (which is extremely limited to only Office and Rosetta Stone for language.
The only thing I want to remove from the systems is the requirement for an administrator to install any sort of hardware (I used my flash drive ahead of time, so mine is automatically recognized)


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:44 pm 
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Guys, there has also been another topic about this and let me say this:

RESTRICTIONS ON THE COMPUTERS ARE THERE FOR A REASON!!!, You are in school TO LEARN NOT TO PLAY!
Get you're self together and do you're work.

If you do not work you must do the work at home.
So it's better to work at school and finish it there then when you are home you have the rest of the day for the computer at home and then play all you like.

Domain computers can be very restricted, there are 1700 extra policy's on Server 2008 that Server 2003 doesn't have.
So you can ''lock down'' a entire computer so that it's useless with only using policy's.

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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:49 pm 
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Gotta agree with DjRob on that one, and the computers wouln't need so many restrictions if you didn't play games and screw around.
That said, some of the restrictions are just stupid, especially web filtering, at my school you can't even punch the word "sales" into a search engine, mind you, you can search the word "sale" yet I once stumbled onto a site that outlined how to commit various crimes and get away with them.


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:44 am 
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DjRob wrote:
Guys, there has also been another topic about this and let me say this:

RESTRICTIONS ON THE COMPUTERS ARE THERE FOR A REASON!!!, You are in school TO LEARN NOT TO PLAY!
Get you're self together and do you're work.

If you do not work you must do the work at home.
So it's better to work at school and finish it there then when you are home you have the rest of the day for the computer at home and then play all you like.

Domain computers can be very restricted, there are 1700 extra policy's on Server 2008 that Server 2003 doesn't have.
So you can ''lock down'' a entire computer so that it's useless with only using policy's.


Somebody doesn't have the hacker mentality...


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:47 am 
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now we just need a way to get around all 1700 new policies in server 2k8... i smell a copy of unetbootin lurking in the corners just waiting for an unsuspecting flash drive to be loaded onto


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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:03 am 
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If it get a copy of server 2008 im going to try that lockdown thing. I'll set all of them to disallow.

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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:16 pm 
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At least anyone with an account at my school can termserv into one of the servers !!!

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 PostPost subject: Re: School Tech. Admin thinks .txt files are viruses.        Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:16 pm 
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If I couldn't install software or use USB flash drives on our school computers there wouldn't be much point in using them.

At least here everyone has their own laptop, if we want to use desktops from the school we have to install XP ourselves.

Unfiltered internet, extra monitors all 'round and admin acces 8)

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