In-Depth

Case Study: It's All Happening at the Zoo

It's all happening at the zooThe only time in 5 years a virus hit Zoo Atlanta, it brought down 200 PCs “in less time than it takes to hang up the phone,” says Fred Vignes, Zoo Atlanta’s infosecurity boss. It required two IT staffers—half the IT team—48 hours to get rid of it.

When spyware started to become a problem, Vignes tried using a variety of anti-spyware solutions including Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware, Spybot's Search & Destroy and Microsoft’s Windows AntiSpyware, but the strategy “was too labor ntensive,” he says. Vignes and the entire IT team still had to go physically to each PC to fix problems. It required 1 hour per PC on average to resolve a spyware-related issue.

Zoo Atlanta’s IT staff didn’t want to deal with another outbreak— whether virus or spyware—so it installed a Proventia M30 Integrated Security Appliance made by Internet Security Systems. The M30 sits behind a gateway and blocks inbound threats such as spyware, spam, viruses and worms. It also prevents spyware already residing on desktop systems from sending out confidential information.

It just stopped—I hesitate to say that out loud.

“I’ve got a logical 38-acre fiber range, and all that [data] comes from [my] Internet service provider,” Vignes says. “Out of the router comes my danger, and if I can throttle that turkey there, I don’t have to [travel] around 38 acres.”

Immediately after installing the security appliance, the device reported about a quarter of the zoo’s computers had been infiltrated by spyware. Since the machines were cleaned or rebuilt, they have stayed spyware free.

“It just stopped—I hesitate to say that out loud,” Vignes says. “Those computers that I have fixed didn’t go back [to being infected], and the dangers just aren’t there anymore. The day I turned that modular on, that situation started going away...I sleep better [at] night.”

Back to Special Report: Sneaky, Sinister, Swindling Software

About the Author

Kathleen Ohlson is senior editor at Application Development Trends magazine.

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