News Briefs

Today's top news stories for March 20, 2009.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Vaccine cleared for human trials
An HIV/AIDS vaccine developed at Western has recently been cleared for human testing.

The vaccine " developed by a group of scientists at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry " recently passed the animal-testing phase required for vaccines. It will now enter the first of three trial phases to determine the impact of the vaccine on humans.

“The first phase requires 35 human tests and takes approximately six months to complete,” Chil-Yong Kang, the vaccine’s creator, said.

If the vaccine successfully completes this phase, it will still require years of further testing.

“The third phase requires 6,000 to 7,000 participants that must be monitored for a period of five years or more,” Kang explained.

Kang said conventional wisdom was used to develop the vaccine.

“Since no one knows what elements of the virus are required for the vaccine, we enacted the whole virus, which is a method commonly used for other viruses,” he said.

“We also genetically modified the virus in order to produce more of it and make it less pathogenic,” Kang added.

The vaccine has been an on-going project for 20 years and Kang estimated over 2,000 scientists have worked on the project.
"James Flanagan

Huron remedies security breach
Over 25,000 students may be at risk due to a breach in security discovered on the Huron University College server.

Malicious software was found during a check on the servers, which was performed when they were running slower than normal.

The discovered software is called DameWare and it allows a remote user to load and send information to a server. DameWare is used by businesses to remotely access workstations, according to the DameWare website.

Since the discovery, the software has been removed and the servers have been shut down. Other steps have also been taken to address the issue, such as spreading data across several servers and taking the server off public space.

“Significant hours have been spent upgrading security,” Ramona Lumpkin, Huron’s principal, said.

Although there are approximately 1,200 students studying at Huron, this breach puts around 25,000 people at risk. The servers at Huron contain the personal information of registered students since 2004, students who lived in Huron residence since 1999, as well as students who applied to Huron as far back as 1992.

“This DameWare has been on the Huron servers for about a year,” Lumpkin said. According to Lumpkin, the investigation had shown four instances of remote access on the server.

“The longest poke was for 91 seconds, a very short amount of time,” Lumpkin explained. “A poke is an instance of access from a remote location on the server.”

Of the four pokes, two came from a location in Germany, one from Cincinnati, Ohio, and one from an unknown location.

Anyone concerned their data may have been accessed should call 1-(866) 953-7745 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until March 31 or after at (519) 438-7224 ext. 245 to speak with a Huron representative.
"Alex Yeung

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