Emailing in the Stone Age

// sort of a rant today. sorry.
I was trying to send a professor a file. Blackboard (a web based classroom) had choked on the submission so the instructor had requested I email the file. Unfortunately zip files are not allowed by the university and the file was stripped. That makes me wonder if any files are allowed.
Its kind of ironic really. Up until blaster, if you mentioned firewalling the students, Universities would respond with a shout about academic freedom.
We must allow bobby and susie to run ftp server, web servers, p2p and everything else all from their dorm room. Its about learning. But what about the safety of everyone else on the internet, your university botnets are taking down ebay.
But the Universities did not care until it began to effect them. Now they block all the file attachments. Is this really a good solution? Blocking attachments is the sort of thing I would expect from Windows hating, text email advocating people. Oh right, just the sort of people you find in a University CS department.
Blocking email attachments takes away a large amount of usability. Its admitting the antivirus product you’ve selected sucks. Its admitting defeat. I.T departments shouldn’t curtail the business use of email just because they cant control viruses effectively. There are solutions like Sybari or Message Labs that do a good job even with newer viruses. There may be other solutions besides removing a file such as renaming it or quarantining it in such a way that the user can retreive it.
The age of wholesale blocking of file types is over. This approach must be reconsidered. Otherwise the next virus will say “please rename the extension from ex_ to exe and then run the program” and the users will do it.