Microsoft patches critical vulnerability in Office

[id : 283] [20/04/2017] [hits : 78982]

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Microsoft has fixed a so-called zero-day vulnerability in Office programs such as Word as well as WordPad which are exploited by third parties to infect computers with viruses and malware and obtain confidential information such as passwords and bank account numbers. We advise all users to update their Office versions (Word, Excel,...) to the latest patch.

Information about Microsoft Office Updates:


Information about the exploit:


Earlier announcements and interruptions

VUB Wireless networks unavailable Thu 20 Apr 8:30-9:00

The VUB wireless networks VUBnext, eduroam en VUBguest will be unavailable for maintenance on Thursday, 20 April for max. 15 minutes between 8:30 and 9:00.

CaLi unavailable Tue 4 Apr 18:00 - Wed 5 Apr 06:00

The Campus LifeCycle Application (CaLi) and the SelfService Students will be unavailable from Tuesday 4 April 18:00 until Wednesday 5 April 06:00 for maintenance.

Network interruptions to student rooms campus Etterbeek fixed

There have been network problems in the (on-campus) student rooms on campus Etterbeek from Thursday evening 30 March 2017 until Friday 31 March afternoon. The network team has further investigated the problem and has found the cause. The situation has now been normalized. Student rooms in Schoofslaan and Nieuwelaan were not affected.

Network issues on Campus Etterbeek Wednesday afternoon<b/>

Users on Campus Etterbeek who reside in buildings G, F, T and other buildings that are solely routed through building G were not be able to access the network and Internet part of Wednesday afternoon. The network team has fixed the issue around 17:30.

Access to port 111 from outside the university network to be denied

As a security precaution, access from outside the VUB/ULB university network to port 111 - a port mapper - will be denied as of Wednesday, 15 February 2017. If you require access to this port, contact the ICT-Helpdesk. Read more...

Port 111 is a port mapper with similar functions to Microsoft's port 135 or DCOM DCE.

Technical details and issues: http://www.speedguide.net/port.php?port=111

Security Concerns: Provides rpc port map without auth, has no filtering or logging, rpcinfo probes can quickly find Unix hosts.
Other security issues: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portmap
The port mapper service was discovered to be used in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and Distributed Reflective Denial of Service (DRDoS) attacks in 2015. By using a spoofed port mapper request, an attacker can amplify the effects on a target because a portmap query will return many times more data than in the original request.

As port 111 poses quite a number of security concerns, the network team will proceed in denying access to port 111 from outside the university network as of Wednesday, 15 February 2017.

Slower network Pleinlaan 9

*All* network traffic in Pleinlaan 9 is being routed over the slower backup link at this time. Network interruptions are to be expected at a later date to reroute traffic over the main link.

Wireless networks VUB unavailable Monday 13 Feb 8:30-8:45

Monday morning, 13 February, all wireless networks at the VUB (VUBnext, eduroam, VUBguest) will be inaccessible for about 15 minutes for system maintenance between 8:30 and 8:45.

Service interruptions on Wednesday 8 February

The following services will be unavailable on Wednesday 8 February, from 07:00 until 07:30 and from 12:30 until 12:45 for an upgrade of the supporting server: nestor, the VUB webserver and the Intranet of VUB and ULB. Between 12:00 and 12:10 the VUB LDAP server will also be unavailable for system maintenance.

Services affected:

nestor: no access to the Z-drives in the public computerrooms of the VUB (buildings B & K), nor to diskspace mounted from NESTOR with SAMBA ("mapped networkdrives") and the nestor directories on HYDRA.

ldap vub: no login in VUB CAS, Pointcarre, SelfService Students, Raptools during the downtime.

Wireless network in Pleinlaan 9 back online

The wireless networks in Pleinlaan 9 are again available after an issue earlier this morning, Friday 3 February.

SelfService Students - CaLi - accessible again

The SelfService Students (CaLi) is again accessible after an issue on Monday afternoon 9 January until Tuesday morning 10 January with the new security certificate on the back-end authentication server.

PURE again available

Pure was unavailable on Sunday 8 January 2017. The service was restored on Monday morning

Short interruption of mailbox consultation on 2 January at 17:30
2 January 2017

There will be a short interruption of the incoming mailservice on Monday 2 January around 17:30 for max. 5 minutes.

Mail delivery was delayed on Thursday 22 December

Due to a massive spam injection from a compromised computer at the university, mail delivery is currently delayed for 4 hours. Our university mailservers may also be blacklisted with external mail servers, resulting in delayed deliveries or rejected messages to external addresses. The system administrators are currently cleaning the system, delayed messages for university addresses will be delivered throughout the afternoon.

ownCloud again online after upgrade

The Computing Centre will perform the upgrade of the OwnCloud software
from the current version 8.0.3 to version 9.1.2. The operation will start on Friday 16 December 15:00. During the upgrade operation, the web portal will be placed in "maintenance mode", i.e.not usable, and your synchronisation agents won't transfer files any more.

The upgrade procedure will be performed in several stages and will take 3 hours or more, depending on the internal changes required during the upgrade (the internal database schema upgrade for instance).

All the measures will be taken to avoid any data loss during the process: backups will be performed before any upgrade stage.

Interruptions to Internet 6 Dec until 9 Dec 23:59-06:00
6 December 2016

After an incident on 29 November last at our Internet provider Belnet, Belnet will proceed to a number of urgent system upgrades on their network. These interventions are planned during the nights of 6, 7, 8 and 9 December, from 23:59 until 06:00 each. During these periods, short network interruptions may occur for max. 15 minutes each.

New security certificate for VUBnext wireless network

On Tuesday, 6 December, the VUB network team was going to install a new security certificate for the wireless network VUBnext. Due to incompatibilities with Windows 7, the change was reversed.

The change of certificate will now be installed on Wednesday, 7 December around 8:30. Users will have to accept the new certificate (named secure-login.vub.ac.be) when connecting to VUBnext,. The Eduroam and VUBguest are not affected by this change.

ULB outgoing mailserver no longer blacklisted by Proofpoint

The ULB mailserver was blacklisted with Proofpoint on 29 and 30 November. As a result, sending messages to any organisation that uses Proofpoint as anti-spam measure resulted in a rejected message. The blacklisting was removed on 30 November in the afternoon.

Central Authentication Service unavailable on 28 November

The VUB's Central Authentication Service (CAS) seems to be unavailable this Monday evening, 28 November. As a result Pointcarré and other online services that depend on CAS are inaccessible.

Network interruption Studentrooms Nieuwelaan Tuesday 22 November

There may be network interruptions on Tuesday 22 November from 12:00 until 17:00 to/from the studentrooms on the Nieuwelaan for network maintenance.

Problems with digital course recordings are solved
21 October 2016

The issues with the digital course recordings which produce errors (Panopto digilessen) are solved since October 20th.

There were occasional lockouts when connecting to a service at VUB/ULB from outside the university. These lockouts could last a couple of minutes. The network team has investigated the issues and implemented a fix on 4 October.

Telnet from outside the university to be deactivated on Monday 26 September

As of Monday, 26 September 9 AM, users will no longer be able to log in into a server at the university from a remote computer outside the university using the Telnet protocol. If you need to log on onto another computer, use the more secure protocol secure shell (ssh). Read more...

Telnet allows users to log in into a server from another computer.

Because of the numerous intrusion attempts that have been going on lately which on occasion have resulted in connectivity issues to university services (Denial of Service), the telnet protocol will be disabled for computers outside the university.

Therefore, as of Monday, 26 September 9 AM, accessing a server at the university from a computer outside the university using Telnet will no longer be possible.

If you need to log in into another computer, use secure shell (ssh) which is more secure as well (telnet connections are not encrypted and therefore not secure, especially through unsecured wireless networks).

If you have a server that only is accessible with telnet and require it to be accessibly from outside the university, send an email to ICT-Helpdesk requesting an exception. Please also motivate your request and include the name and IP address of the server.

Occasional lockouts to university services from outside the university network

The lockouts to university services from outside the university network should be solved. The network team has implemented a number of changes that should prevent these lockouts from occurring.

Hydra offline after an unplanned power cut this week-end

Due to a power cut on Friday night in the Computing Centre a lot of VUB/ULB services were unavailable on Saturday. The colleagues from ICT have worked hard to restart all services. Most of those services should be back online since Saturday afternoon. Our apologies for the inconvenience.

The Hydra cluster was offline until Monday. The system is currently back online.

Power cut in student rooms Campus Jette on 20 and 21 September

Due to maintenance on the power lines to the student rooms on Campus Jette, there will be general powers and no connection to the network on Tuesday 20 September (buildings B-C-D) and Wednesday 21 September (buildings A-E-Cental building) from 6:30 until noon.

Network instability VUB campus Jette on Friday 9 September 2016

The network in Jette may be unstable Friday morning 9 September for the repair of the router.

Connectivity problems for Schoofslaan and Triomlaan

The network problems in Triomflaan and Schoofslaan of Monday morning, 5 September, have been fixed for the time being, although the router is unstable. The network team is working on a permanent solution.

Connectivity problems to campus Jette
2 september 2016

Due to faulty network equipment, campus Jette is disconnected from the network and Internet on Friday 2 September. Most problems were solved in the afternoon, everything was back to normal around 21:00.

Problems with user database at the Computing Centre

Due to a problem with the user database at the Computing Centre this Friday morning 12 August, users could not log in into their accounts, among which to send and receive e-mail, log in onto the Intranet etc... A rollback to a previous version of the database was performed, users now have again access. Read more...

If you still have problems, we suggest you to change a new password using our PAM interface:


Please follow the link Lost your password or NetID ?

After half an hour your password should be synchronised on all VUB/ULB applications. If your problem then is still not solved, please contact the VUB or ULB ICT-Helpdesk.

August 12: Problems with user database at the Computing Centre 12

The Personal Account Manager was temporarily deactivated until August 15. Until then new students were not able to activate their accounts, neither to change their password.

Incompatibility McAfee and Windows 10 Anniversary Update

We have been informed that several Intel Security (McAfee) products are NOT compatible with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Users running McAfee on their system SHOULD NOT install or upgrade to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update at this time. Read more...

All details about affected products and delaying Windows updates can be found on


Updates about the status will be announced on this page.

Cumulus environment unavailable Tuesday 9 August 18:00-22:00

Due to the failure of a critical hardware component in the cumulus hardware environment, an urgent hardware intervention is necessary that will, among other services, affect the student application software, the SelfService Students and Pointcarré. This intervention is planned for Tuesday, 9 August from 18:00 until 22:00 during which applications on the Cumulus environment will be unavailable.

A non-exhaustive list of applications that will be unavailable during the downtime are

- Caliweb
- Pure
- SPlus
- PointCarre
- Course-e-valuation
- Training and education sites
- Hosted sites: VUB Today, IES, CVO, Veco, Wordpress and Drupal sites.
- Test environments: PointCarre, Kwaliteitszorg, Bib, etc..

Unscheduled interruption to Internet Tuesday night 2 August

In the evening of Tuesday 2 August 2016 the university's Internet connection was down between 9:45 PM and 2:15 AM, due to a problem with our Internet provider Belnet. Read more...

The Belnet announcement can be found at


Powercut on Campus Jette Wednesday 20 July 15:00

Due to an unplanned power cut on Campus Jette VUB, an urgent intervention of the electrical equipment on Campus Jette is required. Between 15:00 and 16:00 the power will be cut in buildings A, B, C, D, E, F and G on campus Jette. The power will remain available in building K, child daycare center, Agora and Student dorms.

HYDRA power cut on Wednesday 6th of July

The compute nodes on the Hydra cluster will be stopped on Wednesday 6th of July at 20:00.
A global reservation was created on all the cluster nodes to prevent
jobs running during the power cut.

For unknown reasons, the reservation recently disappeared from the scheduler. Some jobs with a walltime beyond the power cut were therefore started. If you have running jobs, please check if their walltime will exceed 20:00 tomorrow.

The reservation was recreated.

Internet interruptions on Thursday 23 July
21 June 2016

2 short network interruptions may occur to/from the Internet on Thursday 23 July between 7:00 and 8:00 AM for a software upgrade on the firewall.

VUB web server again live
20 June 2016

The VUB web server www.vub.ac.be was unreachable due to a proxy error on Monday June 20. In the mean time the problem is solved.

ULB webserver www.ulb.ac.be will be inaccessible for max. 5 minutes
13 June 2016

The ULB webserver www.ulb.ac.be will be inaccessible for max. 5 minutes on Tuesday, 14 June at 10 AM.

Mail server halt on Saturday 4 June at 19h30 for about 10 minutes
3 June 2016

New mail relay equipment is gradually being brought into service.

VSC Maintenance Work on Saturday 28 May 21:00 till Sunday 29th 05:00
17 May 2016

Due to maintenance work on the Belnet backbone network between Saturday 28/05/2016 21:00 and Sunday 29/05/2016 05:00 there will be an interruption of our VSC connectivity.

Short interruptions WiFi Campus Etterbeek Thu 12 May 08:00-09:00
11 May 2016

There will be short interruptions (max 5 mins each) of the wireless network on Campus Etterbeek on Thursday 12 May between 08:00 and 09:00.

Unsolicited "publicity" printed on university printers

The last couple of days, users may have noticed that unsolicited "publicity" was printed on departmental printers at the university. Upon investigation, it turns out that this output originated from outside the university. The network team has taken a number of security measures to reduce such incidents in the future (read more).

Departments who still receive unsolicited "publicity" on their printers, are advised to contact the ICT-Helpdesk at helpdesk@vub.ac.be or support@ulb.ac.be. Don't forget to include the IP address of your printer.
Departments who wish to limit access to their printers from within the university network, can contact the ICT-Helpdesk as well.

Roundcube Webmail stable again
15 April 2016

After stability problems this Friday morning, Roundcube Webmail is again stable.

Antispam license on university's Internet mail relays renewed
7 April 2016

The antispam licenses of the university's Internet mail were renewed on Tuesday 5 April at 9 AM. They had been inactive since Wednesday 30 March around 14:00 as the license had expired. Users may have seen a temporary increase of the number of unsolicited messages (spam) in their Inbox in that period.

VUB webserver's certificates have been renewed
30 March 2016

On Wednesday 30 March at 4 PM the certificates of the VUB webserver have been renewed. There should be no side-effects, but feel free to contact the ICT-Helpdesk if you encounter any issues.

ownCloud again available after downtime Tuesday March 29 early in the morning
The ownCloud service is again available after a downtime Tuesday March 29 early in the morning. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Pure again available on Friday morning March 25
Due to an error, Pure (the VUB Research database) was offline on Thursday. In the mean time the problem has been solved and Pure works as should be.

Mail delivery delayed on 23 February
E-mail delivery is delayed up to 90 minutes this Tuesday 1 March. Delayed messages will be delivered throughout the afternoon.

Mail server halt on Saturday 13 Feb 20:30 for about 10 minutes.

Mail delivery delayed on 3 February

E-mail delivery was delayed up to one hour this Wednesday. Delayed messages were delivered throughout the afternoon, mail deliver was normalized around 5 PM.

Mail server halt on Saturday 30 Jan 20h30 for about 10 minutes.

Mail server halt on Saturday 30 Jan 20h30 for about 10 minutes. We apologize for the inconvenience.

E-mailproblems on Friday are solved

The problems with e-mail on Friday morning 15th are solved. We apologize for the inconvenience.

ULB mailserver no longer blacklisted at Proofpoint

The ULB mailserver is no longer blacklisted with Proofpoint. While it was, sending messages to any organisation that used Proofpoint as anti-spam measure would reject messages, among which Apple. At this time, messages are delivered again without issues to these organisations.

Mail delivery was delayed on 4 January

E-mail delivery was delayed this Monday morning 4 January 2016. Delayed messages were delivered early in the afternoon.

ICT-Helpdesk - helpdesk@vub.ac.be

Announcements of downtimes prior to 2016 have been removed from the list.
Peter Van Rossem, 10 October 2016


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