Some will unplug computers for Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

LINK It's beginning to look like we won't need the power to go off because everybody is turning everything off to begin with. I wonder if all these companies believe they can sneak into the new year ie: if the computers aren't on at midnight, how can they fail?? Also notice its not the code again but rather VIRUSES they are worried about. There is always an excuse..

By WILLIAM PETROSKI Register Staff Writer 12/22/1999

Better safe than sorry, say Iowa State University officials, who plan to pull the plugs on hundreds of computers at their College of Engineering in Ames before the end of the year.

University officials are worried about a threat of computer viruses expected to be unleashed worldwide Jan. 1.

Similar concerns have prompted Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy, Iowa's largest supplier of electricity and natural gas, to temporarily ban employees from accepting outside e-mail with executable computer files, such as electronic Christmas cards.

At Alliant Energy, another major Iowa electric and gas utility, plans are being made to quickly shut down outside access to the company's Internet site if signs surface of computer hacking during rollover from 1999 to 2000.

Throughout Iowa, business and government computer specialists are acting to avoid threats of computer mischief.

Most experts are confident they have addressed Y2K technology issues to keep computers from confusing the year 2000 with 1900. But trouble could arise from malicious attempts to tamper with computer systems. Experts have reportedly found at least two dozen viruses triggered to go off around Jan. 1. "I think the virus threat is a very real possibility. It is just the very thing that folks of that type would want to take advantage of," said Greg McCormick, president of Silicon Plains Technologies in West Des Moines.

Brandon Burnett, project manager at Aura Consulting, an Urbandale Web development firm, said the potential for problems is serious. "Hackers would love to use this as an opportunity," he said.

At Iowa State, officials will shut down most computers in the College of Engineering because most students will be away over New Year's weekend anyway, said David Holger, associate dean. The college has labs with hundreds of computers.

Holger said a clever hacker "might be able to do some real damage, especially if they got into one of our computer labs. It is kind of silly to take a chance, even though it may be a small one."

Computers will keep operating if they are needed for research or other important purposes, he said. The college will bring its labs back on line systematically after the date rollover to check for problems.

At MidAmerican Energy, anti-virus software is being updated daily, and specialists are on alert for new viruses. "We are working very, very diligently on this," said spokesman Tim Grabinski.

At Alliant Energy, computer specialists will shut off computer modems if they aren't needed during the date rollover, said Bob Newell, the company's Y2K project manager. If a computer with a modem is used, its system must include security measures, including a password that has been changed recently.

Principal Financial Group in Des Moines already has a "very comprehensive and thorough set of procedures that will identify and eradicate infected messages before they get into our system," said Gary Wilson, the company's Y2K project manager.

Kip Peters, a computer security specialist for the state, said his goal will be to treat the date rollover almost like any other day by continually updating anti-virus software.

"We need to be vigilant beyond the 31st or 1st. This issue is not going away," he said.

-- y2k dave (, December 22, 1999


Lane Co. OR will unplug all of their computers
before the holidays. They will also remove their
vehicles from the parking lots to protect against

-- spider (, December 22, 1999.

Dave proves that he doesn't have any technical skill by making this foolish remark:

"I wonder if all these companies believe they can sneak into the new year ie: if the computers aren't on at midnight, how can they fail?? "

I would go into a further detailed analysis about the facts behind this operation, and why company is also doing this very thing. But it's pretty apparent that the Sysops are going to be vigilant deleting anything that doesn't support that BS and misinformation being spread around. So... I'll just say it again for the record. Y2K Dave, you're a technically illiterate fool.

-- (go@ahead.delete see if anyone cares in two weeks), December 22, 1999.

Poor delete is getting is ass kicked at the duhbunkie site and now he has to come over here and play. You are right about its over and its coming quicker than you thinks. Don't you like when people see right though you.. poor baby ...

-- y2k dave (, December 22, 1999.

Personal issues aside, switching off over rollover will be a valuable tool in protecting against some viruses, as well as against one-off errors from negative dates. It's not what I'd call a solution, but it's a sensible action to take.

Mind you, I'd unplug them as well to avoid dirty power. But then I'm a paranoid wacko.

-- Servant (, December 22, 1999.


I'm not a technical brainchild, but you don't get it. I'm an IS manager and our offices are going to be closed during the date change. Given that we may have some power, some dirty power or no power at all we have elected to unplug any electrical device that we value. We also see no need to have systems up and running when they are not needed when there is a potential that the power to them may be disrupted. We are powering down everything and gong home to be with our friends and family just like any other weekend (except for the powering down part). We are also delaying the migration to MS Outlook and Exchange because people seem to be creating viruses that attack those messaging platforms (thanks to the lovability of BGates). It is not a plot or a "way out" it is the reasonable man's route down the road.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. I plan to be setting in my recliner come 1/1/2000 watching college football. Hope my plans remain unchanged.

-- Slickaroo (, December 22, 1999.

Well Dave, do you believe me now or do you need another half dozen people to prove how technically illiterate you are. They made my work easier and showed you why it's a good idea to turn the computers off during the rollover, so I'll say a fourth're a technically illiterate fool.

And by the way I'm not posting anything over at Debunkies that is getting an "ass whipping". I'm handle there is Anonymous.

-- (so@go. back to school and brush up on a clue), December 22, 1999.

Since "technically illiterate" covers such a wide range I'll perhaps resign myself that I am not the the most "technically literate" person on this board. I the future I will resolve to stating that opinions expressed by me may not be "technically literate" but that as opinions I am prone to putting my foot into my mouth from time to time. I like to thank all those that have made me more "technically literate" be illustrating the importance of turning off computers over the upcoming new year. As to premise that all computers can be turned off in the upcoming year to prevent problems is another story. Thanks to "anonomous" for making me see the light or the lack thereof.

-- y2k dave (, December 22, 1999.

I just don't buy the "we're shutting things down to prevent computer viruses" argument.

I work as both a programmer and as a system administrator. Virus are a real threat but we deal with them every day. It's just one more part of the job description. The best way to protect your system may be by turning them off but I would suggest that's equivalent to telling a teenager the best way to avoid AIDS is by abstinence - it is correct in form but unworkable in practice.

The best practical way to deal with the virus threat is a multi- pronged approach: regular data backups, virus scanning software on servers and users desktops, IT standards, firewalls/packet filters and last but far from least, educated users (ones that know better than to open unknown EXE attachments or set Outlook to preview mode).

This approach is not perfect and we do have to deal with viruses that make it past our defense. The vast majority don't do much real harm. But some do and from time to time we have to completely restore a user's desktop. The most common causes are, and I quote "I turned off my virus scanner because it was making my machine too slow..." or "I didn't recognize the sender but the email said 'click here' so I did" or the ever-present and hard to deal with "customer XYZ sent me this MS WORD document to review - looks like it might of been infected, huh?"

The premise of the action carries about as much water as the airlines saying "we're cancelling flights over New Years because of lack of interest". When was the last time the world's air carriers got together and cancelled an 18-hours window of flights due to 'lack of interest'?

Is an increase in virus activity likely around the 1st? Yes. Will shutting off your computer during this period prevent you from acquiring a new virus? Yes. Will it prevent problems caused by viruses that already exist 'in hiding' on your machine? Only if the 'trigger date' is set for ONLY those times yous had your machine turned off (think of the difference between DATE=#01/01/2000# and DATE>=#0101/2000# - most virus writers clearly understand the difference.) Will it prevent infection once you turn it back on? No, only continued vigilence and a continuously educated user base will do that.

The action makes sense, but not for the purported reason.

We go through periods of increased virus activity all the time. The only time major corporations shut down systems for viruses is when a potentially serious virus has been detected in-house and administrators are attempting to contain the damage. Such is not the case here.

-- Arnie Rimmer (, December 22, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ