Web Notes ULB/VUB
Hydra security reboot on Monday January 8th
As you may have heard, two very serious security problems have been made public last week: https://meltdownattack.com/ As such, we have to reboot all nodes of Hydra to install the fixes. The login nodes will be rebooted this evening at 20:00. The worker nodes will be rebooted as soon as the running jobs on them have ended. This should have minimal impact on your work but the capacity of Hydra will be a bit lower until all nodes have rebooted. The bad news is that the attacks use a hardware bug and the fixes to work around them can have a negative impact on performance. For HPC workloads, it could mean that your applications run up to 5% slower. If you experience more performance loss after the reboots, please contact us at email@example.com
HYDRA Maintenance from 11th to 15th of December Completed
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.
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
- 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.
Links- Microsoft Office Update
- Microsoft Office vulnerability revealed
- Belnet downtime 2 August
- VUBnet network interruptions
- [CCinfo] Status of Servers and Network
- Phishing alert: 6 Januari - Final Warning
ICT-Helpdesk - firstname.lastname@example.org
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Web Notes ULB/VUB