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InTheLoop | 12.20.2003

The Weekly Electronic Newsletter for Berkeley Lab Computing Sciences Employees

December 20, 2003

Dick Dicely Remembered for Role in Helping Move NERSC, ESnet to LBNL


Memorial services were held last week for Dick Dicely, who helped build a home for NERSC and ESnet when the two programs moved to LBNL in 1996. Dicely died unexpectedly last week after contracting pneumonia. Horst Simon said Dicely was instrumental in the successful relocation of NERSC and ESnet, an effort that required hundreds of Lab offices to be moved. In lieu of flowers, Dicely's family is asking that donations be sent to either St. Vincent de Paul Society, St. Dominic's Parish in Benicia 94510, or to Benicia Community Action Council, 480 Military East in Benicia, 94510.


Enrollment in Jan. 12 Computer Forensics and Incident Investigation Methods Still Open


Enrollment in the free Computer Forensics and Incident Investigation Methods course to be taught from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, in Bldg. 70A-3377 is still open. A course description is at http://www.lbl.gov/ITSD/Security/services/course-catalog.html#adv6. Space is limited. To sign up, visit https://hris.lbl.gov.


Cyber Security Reminder: Don't Open Those Attachments!


Several worms that arrive in the form of Christmas greeting messages with attachments attempt to entice users into opening the attachments, thereby infecting their PCs. These worms, like so many others, obtain addresses from address books in systems they infect and then use them to fool users into thinking that they are receiving messages from people they know. If you receive any of these messages, don't open the attachments.


Heightened Cyber Security Risks Lead to Call for Computer Shutdowns Over Break


Each year, the Lab's Computer Protection Program asks employees to shut down their computers before leaving for the holidays to help protect the Lab from cyber attacks over the break. This year we are facing a higher level of cyber security threat than we've experienced to date at LBNL. Recent attacks on our systems have been increasingly sophisticated, and the Lab's holiday break has been a time when attacks traditionally occur.

The Lab's ability to maintain an open, collaborative network dedicated to scientific discovery is being jeopardized by these attacks.  Please do your part by shutting down or securing your systems by taking these steps over break:
* Before you leave, turn off your systems or remove them from the network if possible, even if it poses an inconvenience to you. (UNIX systems are particularly at risk.)
* Take additional security precautions if it's impossible to shutdown your systems or unplug them from the network.  The Computer Protection Program (CPP) has prepared a set of guidelines (see list below) to assist you in securing your systems over the break.
* Report suspicious computer activity immediately to cppm@lbl.gov.  For computer security-related emergencies, call (510) 486-7770.
* If you are logging in to Lab systems remotely, take extra care to make sure those remote systems are safe and secure.  Utilize LBNL's Virtual Private Network Service (VPN) to provide an additional layer of security. VPN software is available at www.lbl.gov/download.

Windows:

* Close all applications and services that you are not using.  Especially email, web browsers, and remote desktop access systems.
* Confirm that all your patches are up to date using Windows Update and confirm that Windows is set to automatically update patches on a daily basis, or go to <windowsupdate.microsoft.com>.
* Confirm that you are running the most current version of Symantec Client Security (2.0.1) and that the firewall and intrusion detection systems are operational and updated. The software is available free to Lab employees at www.lbl.gov/download.
* Confirm that you have no unneeded accounts on your machine by clicking on control panel/user accounts and making sure that all users have passwords and that only current users have accounts.
* Additional suggestions can be found on the system procedures section of the CPP Web site at www.lbl.gov/cyber/systems/index.html.

UNIX and Linux:

* Close all applications and services that you are not using.  Especially email, web browsers, and remote desktop access systems.
* Make sure you are up to date on all patches.  If your version of UNIX is no longer supported, strongly consider turning off your system or upgrading to a supported version.
* Tidy your systems, including removing unused accounts and turning off unused services.
* If you operate a process which caches passwords or keys, for example ssh agent, confirm that the process is turned off and secured with a strong password.
* Configure host-based firewalls and/or tcp-wrappers to limit access to authorized addresses.
* Additional suggestions can be found on the system procedures section of the CPP Web site at www.lbl.gov/cyber/systems/index.html.

Macintosh:

* Close all applications and services that you are not using.  Especially email, Web browsers, and remote desktop access systems.
* Make sure your system is up to date with all patches.
* Confirm that you are running the most current version of Norton Anti Virus for Macintoshes (9.0) and that your virus definition files are up to date.
* Additional suggestions can be found on the system procedures section of the CPP Web site at www.lbl.gov/cyber/systems/index.html.


About Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Computing Sciences organization provides the computing and networking resources and expertise critical to advancing the Department of Energy's research missions: developing new energy sources, improving energy efficiency, developing new materials and increasing our understanding of ourselves, our world and our universe.

ESnet, the Energy Sciences Network, provides the high-bandwidth, reliable connections that link scientists at 40 DOE research sites to each other and to experimental facilities and supercomputing centers around the country. The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) powers the discoveries of 6,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities, including those at Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division (CRD). CRD conducts research and development in mathematical modeling and simulation, algorithm design, data storage, management and analysis, computer system architecture and high-performance software implementation. NERSC and ESnet are DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world's most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab's scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the DOE’s Office of Science.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.