DST switchover causing some problems

The earlier start to daylight-saving time (DST) went smoothly for some IT administrators, while others spent Sunday troubleshooting problems.

Nobody reported a collapse of their network because of the earlier-than-usual start to daylight-saving time (DST) Sunday, but several IT administrators acknowledged they've had to troubleshoot some problems.

Most of the problems are related to Outlook calendar appointments being off by an hour, though the Bethesda, Md.-based SANS Internet Storm Center (ISC) logged several emails about DST-related glitches in security software from such vendors as Symantec Corp. and WatchGuard Technologies Inc.

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Audio downloads:

Security Wire Weekly: IT pro Alphonse Edouard discusses what he's doing to prepare his company for DST, and whether it will interfere with his security patching
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Security Wire Weekly: IT pro Susan Bradley on the security implications of DST.Download MP3 | Subscribe to Security Wire Weekly

Starting this year, DST is extended by four weeks in the U.S., Canada, Bermuda and the Bahamas because of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It started yesterday instead of the first Sunday in April, and will be extended until the first Sunday in November instead of the last Sunday in October. IT shops had been racing in recent weeks to apply a series of patches from their various IT vendors to ensure electronic appointment calendars and other software tools wouldn't be knocked off kilter.

While basic security tools weren't expected to be impacted by the switchover, some IT administrators fretted about possible timing glitches in their forensic and auditing tools, while others worried about security fixes gathering dust as IT shops focus instead on DST patching. Network access controls were also said to be at risk.

SearchSecurity.com kept in touch with several IT administrators by email Sunday, and nobody reported any serious trouble.

Jay Wessel, vice president of technology for the Boston Celtics, said all his advance planning seems to have paid off.

"We have three events today (one down, two in progress) plus a home game tonight at 6 p.m. So far, all is great," he reported Sunday afternoon. "I did get up at 3:30 a.m. and looked remotely at all our critical systems, which all looked good."

Others, like Alphonse Edouard, vice president of IT for Delaware-based investment firm Dune Capital Management, reported only small problems with calendaring software.

"The biggest issues we discovered is the calendar items between Blackberry and Exchange," he said. "We had to apply the Exchange DST fix to our Blackberry server to get the calendar items to sync. On Outlook, some users ended up having to manually tweak the appointment to the correct time."

The problems were similar for Jeffrey Jarzabek, IT director for Matocha Associates, an Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., firm specializing in architecture, engineering, general contracting and construction management.

"Oddly enough, [for] some people that had all-day appointments or appointments that stretched several days, these got moved ahead by one day," he said. "These users will have to manually update these [Monday]. I'm sure something else will crop up. I would expect nothing less from Exchange!"

Meanwhile, Deborah Hale, a volunteer handler at the ISC, reported a healthy volume of email regarding DST problems on the organization's Web site.

"I can't believe that I volunteered for this shift," she wrote. "The emails continue to roll in regarding things that [are not] working quite right this morning. Nothing Earth shattering or causing the Internet to crash and burn, however it is making things a little tense for some folks."

There were reports of cell phones and VoIP phones not updating to the correct time, she said, adding, "We have received reports from two separate people indicating the time did not change correctly on Cisco phone models 7940, 7960, 7961 and others."

Problems were also reported by users of Watchguard Fireware 8.3.1 and Watchguard System Manager 8.3.1, as well as Symantec Backup Exec.

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