The Lake Washington School District (LWSD) said earlier this week that technicians are making progress against a computer virus that has infected hundreds of student and staff laptops.
The Goblin virus, Mal/xpaj-B, was spread through the district's network earlier this fall when computer users downloaded a corrupt file. LWSD spokesperson Kathryn Reith said Friday that infected computers have been removed from the network, forcing some students and staff to use other machines while the virus is eradicated.
“It’s inconvenient, but it seems to be working," Reith said. "The number of new infections has gone down drawmatically."
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LWSD significantly expanded its student laptop program this school year, issuing netbooks and PC laptops to every student in most middle and high schools. The money for the computers came from a technology levvy that was approved by voters in 2010.
Approximately 1,700 of 25,000 computers in the district's system have been taken offline following the virus outbreak, Reith said, adding that some malfunctioning computers were quarantined just as a precaution.
Reith said the virus outbreak has brought some additional issues to light with the new program, especially the fact that many students and some staff are violating the district's acceptable use policy by downloading games and other unapproved programs. To mitigate the problem in the future, Reith said the district has already implemented stronger tools that alert administrators when an unaccepted use is taking place.
In the meantime, the district is warning parents to keep LWSD-issued computers off any home networks and to make sure their home computer's anti-virus software is up to date. Reith said several tech-industry parents have offered to help clear out the virus but that the district already is covered through a contract with Microsoft Premier Support.
“We’re letting them do their job, but we really appreciate the Microsoft parents wanting to help,” she said.