Graphic by Krystal Zhang
Pepperdine’s Information Technology (IT) department conducted two emergency maintenances to WaveNet last week, according to a series of emails that were sent by the department to the Pepperdine community.
IT conducted the maintenance to remove vulnerabilities on some of the servers that support WaveNet and as a result, the photos on WaveNet were removed, according to Senior Director of Information Technology Scott Bolan.
Bolan wrote an email to the Pepperdine community stating,”As part of the maintenance, it became clear that the service that provides student photos within WaveNet was not secure and needed to be disabled. As a result, student photos will not be visible in WaveNet until we can find a secure method. Faculty can view student photos in Sakai by clicking on the Class Roster.
The various maintenance activities that occurred during the first week of January served to block access to the vulnerability and then to update the underlying application to remove the vulnerability, Bolan wrote in an email to the Graphic.
During the maintenance, IT found that the application that supports the student photos on WaveNet was old and would not accept updates, and as a result, the photos were taken down, Bolan wrote.
Although they have not yet found a permanent solution for the photo application, IT is researching for a replacement application and will keep the community up to date on their progress, Bolan wrote.
On the other hand, Student Government President Austin Welch said he wasn’t upset that the the photos were taken down.
“I am pretty indifferent about it to be honest with you,” Welch said.
He said there was not a real purpose in having the photos on the personal student WaveNet pages.
“I never personally saw a point to having a photo on our student center ’cause I know what I look like,” Welch said. “I don’t need to look at myself, but I am not exactly sure what the use was for it.”
Additionally, the photos are from New Student Orientation week, which Welch said he was not fond of looking at everytime he would log into his WaveNet page.
“To be honest with you, that photo is from three and a half years ago for me, so every time I log into WaveNet I have to look at myself [from] my day of NSO move in,” Welch said. “So I wasn’t a huge fan of it.”
Freshman Billy Cook said he was glad that the photos on WaveNet were taken down.
“I guess for privacy reasons it would be good to remove them like they did,” Cook said. “There are people out there who can get whatever they want online, but it is good that they took precautions against it, and I bet you they still are, so that is good.”
A role of IT is to actively monitor for vulnerabilities during their monthly scheduled maintenance cycles when applications are used less heavily, Bolan wrote. If they find a vulnerability, IT takes action to patch them.
In addition to replacing the photo application, Bolan wrote that IT will be evaluating to see if anything else needs to be replaced.
Follow Hansol Hwang on Twitter: @Hansol_HwangLA