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On Location: Policy Enforcement: University of Florida Gainesville

For IT practitioners everywhere, UF's story is sure to touch off a debate that is as timely as it is timeless: How much network policing is too much?

Overnight Success

THERE'S NO DEBATE ABOUT ICARUS' EFFECTIVENESS. Before it was turned on, there were as many as 3,500 simultaneous violators at any given time on the Gainesville campus, school officials say. On the day the switch was flipped, 1,500 violators were caught. There were only 19 second-time violators and no third-time violators. Purged of the digital cholesterol of media files, the network saw an 85 percent drop in uplink data volume.

Since then, violations have slowed to a trickle. Another 500 or so have been caught for the first time, 150 for the second time and four for the third time. Only third-timers are formally charged with violating the terms of use, and their cases are sent to the campus judiciary.

The inventors of the software say it can be applied to any number of network threats and annoyances, including spam, worms, viruses, Trojan horses and denial-of-service attacks. In fact, even before it was applied to P2P traffic, Icarus controlled the Welchia worm by automatically quarantining infected computers, university IT officials say. The software is so good that a campus committee on licensing decided last month to apply for a patent and explore ways to commercialize Icarus (see "Is Icarus the Next Gatorade?" page 46).

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