Change Your Password!
Keep your password safe! Use strong passwords, or, better yet, pass phrases that are easy to remember, but impossible to guess. And, once you've created a strong password, keep it safe! Avoid combinations like birthdays, addresses, or the names of friends/family. NEVER share your passwords with anyone, and NEVER send your password in an email, even if the request for your account information looks official (see the article in the right column about Phishing). Change your password every three months (or more often).
WHy can't I buy and use a wireless router in my office?
There are two main reasons why you can't go out and buy a wireless router to use in your office: centralized radio management, and network security. Consumer wireless routers are designed to work in isolation. They have no knowledge of the other wireless access-points (APs) around them. Without centralized airspace management, radio interference from the routers will cause connectivity issues. This could create interference and make other wireless devices unusable.
From a security standpoint, consumer devices are meant to allow either open access or access by using a shared key/password. TCNJ requires users to log in to assure that only authorized users are on our network. Logging and per-user authentication is non-existent on consumer wireless routers, so there is no guarantee that those accessing it should be permitted on the campus network.
ON the Horizon...
The Information Technology Planning Council (ITPC) has formed a committee to evaluate TCNJ's future needs for a course management system. SOCS has served the campus well for ten years, but the time has come to evaluate a new system that will help facilitate teaching in today's digital world. Representatives from each school, many of whom serve on the ITPC or in the Faculty Senate, as well as staff from relevant areas and students from the SGA will serve on the committee. Look for more information coming soon!
IT Administrative Budgets
The FY11 IT Administrative Budget process has begun. The on-line system was available for entering requests between October 1 and October 29 of this year. Cabinet members were asked to prioritize requests between November 1 and November 12. Discussions and budgetary approvals will be finalized and communicated at the beginning of January, 2011. Purchase of approved items will begin in early January 2011. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your IT Support Specialist.
But I don't know who my support specialist is!
Telephone System Evaluation
The telecommunications department is in the midst of developing a plan to replace our aging phone system. Uncertainties surrounding long-term support for the phone system led us to start this evaluation. Originally installed back in 1993, our phone system, while it still works well, lacks some of the more sophisticated features of newer systems that will be incorporated into this new plan.
We've met with many departments across campus over the last two years to find out what their needs would be in a new phone system. And while we don't have a firm date on when this replacement will happen, we are developing this replacement plan as we look to the future. For more information on this project, contact Pat Pasinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Email moving to Google Apps for Education
We are pleased to announce that we are very close to signing a contract with Google to move our student email to Google Apps for Education. Many schools are moving in this direction and we feel that the time is right for TCNJ to do the same.
We think that it is really important to keep a connection with our alumni, so one of the main reasons we are doing this is so that our alumni can keep a tcnj.edu email account for life. If we continue to add our alumni to our current method of doing all email in-house at TCNJ, we will be adding $1.50 for each account, which adds up to roughly $1500-$2000 per year, every year. The transition to Google Apps will help keep our costs down as Google will provide this service to our students at no charge to us.
Moving to Google for our students is also beneficial to our students because they will have a greater storage capacity than we could ever afford to give them. And freeing up this space during this transition will allow us to expand faculty/staff email storage at no additional cost. In a recent survey of our students (Spring 2010), out of the 500 students that responded to the question "Which one of the following email accounts do you currently have besides your tcnj.edu account?", sixty-four percent already have a Gmail account. So many are already familiar with the way Google handles email.
The transition will be relatively seamless to students, faculty and staff, and we would like input and suggestions throughout the process. Under the direction of the IT Planning Council, we have a subcommittee in place called the "Policy and Communications Committee" with representation from the Faculty Senate, the SGA and some administrative areas that will help guide us through transitioning student emails to Google Apps. But we want to hear from you. If you have questions regarding this, please send them to Pat Pasinski (email@example.com) and we will respond to your questions, and use those questions to develop a frequently asked questions document based on our input.
More to come as we move through the process...
Wants us to address a topic?
If there's something you've got a question about, or something you'd like to see in a future issue of the TechTalk IT Newsletter, just let us know! Click the link below to send us an email, and we'll see what we can do for you.
Teaching in a class with media equipment?
Here are our top 5 questions and answers
1) There's no sound from the system! What do I do?
Check the system's MUTE button - you may not have muted it yourself, but maybe the person who used the room before you did. IF you are using the computer, you should also make sure that the computer is not muted and that the volume is turned up loud enough to hear.
2) The computer was locked by a previous user! How can I use the computer with that person's password?
Short of tracking down the user and asking them to unlock the computer and log off, the best thing you can do is power off the system and turn it back on: just hold in the power button on the PC for about 10 seconds; it'll turn off. Then turn it back on. Remember that any data you save to the instructor's workstation will be erased when you log out. For the sake of your work, and to be polite to the next person who has to teach in the room, save your data to a removable device, or to the network, and log out when you are done.
3) I don't see anything on the monitor. How can I fix that?
The simplest thing to do first is to check and see if you can see the computer using the projector in the room. If you don't, make sure the computer is turned on, and then make sure the PC source is selected from the touch-screen control panel. If you do, make sure that the power for the monitor is turned on.
4) I connected my laptop, but the projector still says there's no signal. What do I do to show my screen?
First, make sure the VGA cable is firmly connected to the laptop, then make sure that you have selected the Laptop source on the touch-screen control panel. If all of that is done, make sure that the monitor output is also enabled: on Dell laptops, this is done by pressing the Fn and F8 keys at the same time. Different manufacturer's use different key strokes, or may require you to make the change in software - check with the instructions that came with your laptop to find out what you need to do.
5) I have a Mac laptop and it doesn't look like I can connect it with the laptop cable in the classroom. Can I do this?
The standard laptop connection in our media classrooms is a VGA connector. Most Mac laptops require an adapter to make this connection. If your laptop was purchased through IT, the correct adapter should have been ordered for you, and given to you with your laptop. If you are bringing your personal Mac laptop, you may not have this adapter. Different models of Mac laptops require different adapters, so if you need you should contact your Support Specialist to find the right adapter for you.
Want to learn about the media equipment in each classroom?
Phishing - Don't Get Hooked
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a scam which attempts to entice email recipients into clicking on a link that takes them to a bogus website. The website may prompt the recipient to provide personal information such as social security number, bank account number or credit card number, and/or it may download malicious software onto the recipient’s computer. Both the link and website may appear authentic, however they are not legitimate.
How does it Work?
Have you received an email, an instant message, or another communication that just did not seem right, even though the communication appeared to be from a reputable organization? This communication could very well be a phishing scam. It’s important to note that in the past, phishing scams were often more easily detectable because of misspellings, typographical errors and blatantly bad grammar; however, they are increasingly more difficult to detect because they often appear so legitimate.
Phishing scams try to “bait” the recipient in a number of ways: the malicious email could include notice of an account cancellation, a request to verify/update personal information, a notice of a purchase that you did not make, or just about anything else that would get you to respond to the communication. The types of messages used in phishing are expanding almost every day, so it is important to be cautious of any communications you receive.
If the email communication, with its enticing subject line, is the “bait,” what is the hook? The hook is getting you, the user, to take some action that enables the phisher to obtain information or otherwise gain access. You may be “tricked” into visiting a website, which appears to be a legitimate organization’s website. Once at that site, you may be asked to enter personal information. Another method of attack may be to get you to open an attachment in an email, upon which malicious code, such as a Trojan horse will be installed onto your computer. Other variations include a telephone call, in which the phisher will ask you to provide personal information. Once the phisher has “hooked” you, they may use the information to open accounts in your name, access your bank account or make purchases using your credit card. There is also a type of phishing attack known as “spear phishing” where the attacker targets specific individuals by name or organizations. For example, an email invitation to attend an event that may be of interest could be sent to an organization’s employees. When an employee clicks on the link contained in that email, malware is downloaded to the employee’s computer. The attacker may be targeting specific employee information, such as user names and passwords, or proprietary organization information.
How do I Know it is a Phishing Scam?
- If you receive an email appearing to be from a legitimate business, requesting you submit personal information, it is most likely a scam. Legitimate businesses do not send emails requesting personal information.
- Use an Internet search engine to research the subject line of a suspicious email to determine if that subject line is a known phishing scam.
What Can I Do?
- Be cautious about all communications you receive. Think before you click.
- If the communication looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- If it appears to be a phishing communication, do not respond. Delete it. You can also forward it to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Do not click on any links listed in the email message and do not open any attachments contained in suspicious email.
- Do not enter personal information in a pop-up screen. Legitimate companies, agencies and organizations don’t ask for personal information via pop-up screens.
- Install a phishing filter on your email application and also on your web browser. These filters will not keep out all phishing messages, but will reduce the numbers of phishing attempts.
- Ensure that your computer is up-to-date on all patches.
- Ensure that your antivirus program is installed and up-to-date.
- Use bookmarks in your web browser for the organizations which with you regularly communicate to limit the chances of being redirected to malicious sites.
- If you think you have been scammed, visit http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
- Look for unauthorized charges or withdrawals on your credit card and bank statements/bills.
- Review your credit report - visit http://www.ftc.gov for a link to request an annual free credit report.
For more information on Phishing, please visit: