Archive for July 2012

Secure your Wireless Router

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When setting up a wireless network at home, I was surprised to be able to connect to my neighbor's unsecured wireless router.  Not only could I have used his bandwidth for free, but had I been so inclined, I could have used the connection for illegal activities.  If the police came looking, he may not have been able to prove the activity didn't come from one of his computers. Properly securing wireless is not hard.  Look in the manual for changing the SSID to something unique, turning on WPA (avoid WEP) for authentication and TKIP for encryption, and using MAC address filtering. 

Check and make sure your friend really did send that great screensaver

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A common method of transmitting malware is by infecting some unsuspecting user's computer and then using that computer to infect others. One simple way to do this is for a hacker to hijack your address book and send copies of the malware to everyone in that address book. Of course, YOU need to be enticed to run the malware, and the best way to do that is to fool you into thinking the attachment is something else. If a friend or acquaintance sends you a "great screensaver" or something like that, which you were not expecting, take a few minutes to confirm that person really sent it. If they know nothing about it, then delete the message.       

Don't Trust Links Sent in Email Messages

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A common fraud, called "phishing", sends messages that appear to be from a bank, shop or auction, giving a link to a fake website and asking you to follow that link and confirm your account details. The fraudsters then use your account details to buy stuff or transfer money out of the account. These fake sites can be hard to spot, so no reputable organization will send a message requesting your confidential information.       

Security Awareness Tip of the Week!

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If you're not sure you've seen an incident, report it anyway

Most security folks (and IT folks, for that matter) would rather hear about a problem from you than to figure it out afterwards while troubleshooting a system failure. If a phone call from User Support doesn't sound quite right, if a common email announcement is just a little off, or if a caller on the phone is too stressed to remember his or her password — don't be pressured and don't be rushed. Rush and pressure are among the "social engineering" hacker's best tools. Ask for help! Call your supervisor, call your IT group, and call your InfoSec group on the spot for assistance. You are as responsible (or more) to the whole company as you are to the one person on the phone! Don't let one person's stress jeopardize the organization's information security.

Bill Ochs named 2012 T&C Tech-E award winner

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Bill Ochs, a member of the User Services Department, was awarded the 2012 Tech-E Award for Excellence in Service at the annual T&C BBQ in June. The Tech-E was created by Technology & Communication to honor a staff member who exemplifies our values of "Extreme Service".
Bill works primarily with the Extended University, supporting EU administrators and staff as well as faculty and students associated with EU courses. Bill has also taken a lead role in supporting Blackboard Collaborate, a tool for video collaboration, for the entire campus. He presented on a panel at EduSoCal '12, sharing best practices for helping faculty using Collaborate.
Tech-E award winners are nominated by members of the campus community. Some of the comments that the awards committee received about Bill included:

  • You won't find a person with a better attitude - whether it's a faculty, staff or student asking the same question for the 100th time or being called to work in an area outside of his normal scope.
  • I don't think "No" is in his vocabulary
  • Conveys passion and takes personal ownership towards the university…and strives to make a more accessible environment for everyone.
  • The most efficient worker I have ever had the pleasure of working with
  • His unending patience, good humor, creativity, and resourcefulness in accommodating our ever-changing needs is legend.
The photo above shows Bill(R) being presented the Tech-E trophy by Hai Le(L), last year's awardee. Congratulations to Bill for this recognition of his Extreme Service! 

Security Awareness Tip of the Week!

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Do not write your password down and leave it near your computer

Writing your password on a 'sticky-note' and sticking it on your monitor makes it very easy for people who regularly steal passwords to obtain yours.  Hiding it under your keyboard or mouse pad is not much better, as these are common hiding places for passwords.  However if you must write something down, jot down a hint or clue that will help jog your memory or store the written password in a secure, locked place.        

July 2012 - secureCI Monthly Security Newsletter Now Available

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secureCI, CI's monthly information security awareness newsletter is now available for viewing.  Please follow this link to view the July issue of secureCI.

Taking a look at printer/copiers

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While the "Paper Less" campus is one of our signature initiatives for the IT Strategic Plan, nonetheless we continue to need printers and copiers to get our work done. With North Hall opening this summer, we need copiers in new locations - but at the same time, a reduction in printing and copying (a good thing!) has created a financial challenge because the amount of use isn't covering the cost of the equipment we already have. So we are working closely with Finance and Administration to reallocate existing equipment to meet the needs of our expanded footprint. At the same time, we're starting to evaluate the printer/copier market to determine how to best meet campus needs.

Do you have thoughts or ideas about how we use printer/copiers on campus and how we could be more efficient? Please, get in touch.