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Tricking Melissa

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench

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Posted: 4 May 1999

Undoubtedly you have heard of the Melissa virus by now. (If you’ve been in a cave somewhere since last Friday (3/26/99) you’ll want to read TID #2949477, which gives a very good detailing of this beast.) Cool reader Craig B., a senior systems analyst for Winnipeg Hydro, sent Cool Solutions the following account of how he used ZENworks to protect his users from infection, and kept his mail servers from going up in flames. Here’s what he said:

When we heard about the Melissa e-mail virus, we knew it was time to make sure our workstations virus definition files were up-to-date. There has always been a problem with users not updating their systems, but with ZENworks we figured we could automate the process. I was amazed at how well it worked. We updated 170 workstations in three locations in less than 30 minutes. This was the first all-out use of the Application Launcher since we installed it about two weeks ago. Here's how I did it:

  1. I downloaded the latest NAV virus definitions from Symantec, and put them in a shared drive.
  2. I created a simple application object that would run the update and set it to run once only.
  3. I told it to prompt before distribution and in the description gave our users an explanation of what was happening. We did not have time to e-mail everybody to warn them ahead of time and most of them were still trying to adjust to having the App Launcher on their desktop in the first place.
  4. I set the schedule to Specific Day, then chose a time period of 30 minutes. I spread the run time over a 20-minute period to prevent some net congestion.
  5. I associated the application with the group Everyone, then modified the applications assigned to that group so that the update was "Force run.”
  6. I modified the Launcher configuration of the OU to allow timed updates and set the refresh to 60 seconds.
  7. After 30 minutes I took the force run off, and unchecked the run once only. This would allow us (or the users) to update the definitions manually if needed in the future. I also set the scheduled time to none.

This might seem to be a common usage of the program, but it really did save us at least a week of running around making sure everyone got updated.

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