OIT News – February 2013

OIT News
Monthly news briefs, information and announcements
Office of Information Technology, NC State University
Issue 64, February 2013
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Follow OIT on Twitter
@NCStateOIT
For up-to-the-minute reports on OIT systems, see
SysNews 
For help with computing problems, contact the
NC State Help Desk
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01: Know the difference between spam and unwanted mail
02: “Java Zero Day” vulnerability needs patching
03: OIT clarifies Windows 8 support
04: Google Apps @ NC State to offer more Consumer Apps
05: Change in telephony availability during power outages
06: OIT Awards for Excellence nominations due March 6
07: Call for nominations for Gertrude Cox Award
08: OIT training available: Google Apps, SortSite, Twitter, Photoshop, and WordPress Blog
09: SAR training scheduled for Feb. 26
10: Update your software
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01: Know the difference between spam and unwanted mail
This Saturday, when OIT turns off the Quarantine Reporting feature in Postini, NC State’s central anti-spam/antivirus and email archiving system, it will be more important than ever to discern between spam and unwanted mail to help effectively “train” Gmail to recognize what is, and is not, spam at the university.

Effective Feb. 16, Google’s spam service will replace Postini and will filter all spam messages for campus. If you are receiving a Postini Quarantine Summary each morning, you will cease getting it. Now, if you find legitimate email in your Gmail Spam folder, click the Not Spam button to move it to your inbox, which will “teach” Gmail that it’s not spam.

If you receive
unwanted email, such as a newsletter, do not mark it as spam! If too many users mark a newsletter as spam, it teaches Google that it is spam for everyone at ncsu.edu, which can then prevent the people who really want the newsletter from receiving it.

Most legitimate newsletters offer an unsubscribe option. For official campus mailings that you no longer want to receive, check the bottom of the email for unsubscribe instructions. If there is no unsubscribe option, you can create a filter to delete it immediately, keeping it out of your inbox.

The initial increase in spam that may take place when the Postini Quarantine reporting feature is turned off will quickly subside if everyone takes these actions.

For more information about the Postini change, read
OIT to turn off Quarantine Reporting in Postini. You can learn more about dealing with spam at Remove spam and Legitimate mail is marked as spam.

If you have any questions, contact the NC State Help Desk at 515-4357 (HELP) or help@ncsu.edu.

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02: “Java Zero Day” vulnerability needs patching
Oracle has released an important patch to fix a malicious bug known as the “Java Zero Day” vulnerability that allows hackers access to Web browsers. This patch should be installed on all computers running Java Version 7. Java is a general purpose programming language that is widely used, because it allows the development of write once, run anywhere programs that can actually run within a Web browser and on virtually any platform, such as Windows, Macs and Linux computers.

You can follow Java’s How do I enable Java in my Web browser instructions to find out what version of Java your particular Web browser is using.

Managed desktop users
If you’re a managed desktop user, OIT began updating Java versions 6 and 7 on Feb. 12. A workstation restart will be required following the update. You can also download and install the Version 7 update by visiting Free Java download.

Help
To check for any updates on this situation, visit NC State’s SysNews posting Java 7 vulnerability patched.

To check your version of Java or if you need help installing the patch, contact the NC State Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu or 515-HELP (4357).

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03: OIT clarifies Windows 8 support
OIT is clarifying its support for Microsoft Windows 8 the current version of the Windows operating system (OS)  on university-owned and student-owned computers.

University-owned computers
Many university-owned computers are running Windows 7 or older. Workstations in OIT-managed computer labs and classrooms as well as OIT Managed Desktop workstations will be running Windows 7 for the foreseeable future. While the NC State Help Desk has some experience with Windows 8, OIT recommends that colleges, divisions and departments establish their support plans and implementation strategies before upgrading existing workstations to Windows 8.

All university-owned computers are licensed for all versions of the Windows OS through the university’s Microsoft Campus Agreement. Faculty and staff can download Windows OS by logging in to the Microsoft Windows website. Individual colleges, divisions and departments may have recommendations regarding Windows 8, so you should check with your local IT support for your unit’s recommendations.

Student-owned computers
New computers purchased by students will usually come with Windows 8 installed. The OIT Walk-in Center and the NC State Help Desk can provide support for Windows 8 as well as other currently-supported versions of Windows on student-owned computers.  

If you have questions, please contact the NC State Help Desk at 515-4357 (HELP) or help@ncsu.edu.

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04: Google Apps @ NC State to offer more Consumer Apps
OIT and the Google Service Team are pleased to announce that more Consumer Apps are coming in March to Google Apps @ NC State.

Google Analytics, Chrome Web Store, Chrome Sync, and Webmaster Tools will join the 17 apps already offered in Google Apps @ NC State. Once these new apps become available, only users of the Google Analytics app will be prompted with a Terms of Service click-through agreement.

Check Google Apps @ NC State in the next couple of weeks for an announcement of the exact availability date for these new apps. If you have any questions in the meantime, contact the NC State Help Desk at 515-4357 (HELP) or help@ncsu.edu.

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05: Change in telephony availability during power outages
When Communication Technologies (ComTech) implemented the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in 2007, it also provisioned external batteries to provide campus telephone customers a minimum of 60 minutes of voice service in a power failure. With VoIP, customers’ voices are converted into digital signals that travel across the Internet.

The proliferation of cell phones coupled with new Environmental Health and Public Safety (EHPS) guidelines — requiring hazardous operations to cease in the event of a building power outage — have reduced the need for extended run-times. However, the cost of providing resilient power has increased. As a result, ComTech will no longer maintain separate battery packs to support extended runtimes.

With internal battery support, the majority of campus buildings will continue to have at least 20 minutes of telephony service during an outage, but others will have as little as 10 minutes. Campus units with extraordinary needs above the default runtimes may contact Ed Rogers, ComTech associate director of engineering, at ed_rogers@ncsu.edu to explore options and related costs.

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06: OIT Awards for Excellence nominations due March 6
The deadline for the Office of Information Technology Awards for Excellence nominations is 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 6.

All campus employees individuals or groups may submit nominations for permanent SPA or non-faculty EPA employees; however, nominees must be individuals. Nominations of groups will not be accepted.

Submit the completed nomination form and recommendation(s) to Harry Nicholos at hmn@ncsu.edu.
OIT will recognize all nominees during an Awards Reception on Monday, April 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of Talley Student Center. For more information, visit the OIT Awards for Excellence website.

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07: Call for nominations for Gertrude Cox Award
Nominations for the 2012-2013 Gertrude Cox Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning with Technology are now being accepted through 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15.

The award recognizes “the creative pedagogy of NC State’s faculty and technical staff and their work in integrating new technologies into effective teaching strategies.” It is supported by the Teaching, Learning and Technology Roundtable (TLTR); Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (DELTA); and the Office of Faculty Development (OFD).

To nominate an individual or for more information, visit the Gertrude Cox Award website. An award reception will begin at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 11 at the McKimmon Center.

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08: OIT training available: Google Apps, SortSite, Twitter, Photoshop, and WordPress Blog
OIT is offering the following workshops:

  • “Google Apps @ NC State Beyond the Basics: Gmail” will be offered from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19 in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. If you’re comfortable with the basics of Gmail and are ready to learn additional features, this hands-on workshop is for you. You will learn more about labels, filters, canned responses, and more. To register, visit Classmate.
  • An “Introduction to SortSite” will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 20 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Available to campus, SortSite is a tool that allows you to evaluate the accessibility of individual Web pages or entire websites. This hands-on workshop introduces you to the tool and how to effectively use it. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Tweeting for the University” will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 27 from noon to 1 p.m. in 216 Scott Hall. Are you interested in using Twitter to promote your NC State organization or resource? Learn tips and techniques for promoting your tweets and how to register your Twitter account with the NC State Twitter network. You’ll learn about meaningful applications of Twitter for NC State organizations and individuals to help you contribute to the conversation, extend the university brand and engage your audience. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Photoshop: Intermediate” will be held on Thursday, Feb. 28 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Build on the skills you gained in the Photoshop introductory series as you learn more advanced applications of the tool sets. Topics will include an in-depth look at the RAW processor, advanced selection tools, histogram, levels, masking, and workflow processes to save you time. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Photoshop: Introduction is a four-part series that will be offered on March 5, 12, 19 and 26 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. In this series, you will learn about the Photoshop software as well as print and photography design concepts. By the end of this workshop series, you should feel comfortable finding the tools you need to use within Photoshop to open, edit, transform, retouch, and export images. Make sure to sign up for all four sessions! To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Create and Collaborate with Google Docs” will be offered from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 7 in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Learn how to create, import or build a collection of Google Docs (Web-based word processing documents). During this demonstration, you’ll also learn how to use Docs in a collaborative environment  simultaneously editing the same file/doc with your colleagues and friends  as well as get tips on how to secure your docs by implementing the proper file-sharing permissions. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Create a Free WordPress Blog Site” will be offered from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 13 in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Did you know that you can request a free WordPress Blog at NC State to host your personal, temporary or project blog or website? Sites in the Blog Service include the NC State Brand Bar, are WRAP-enabled and are backed up daily. Sites will have a URL such as mydomain.wordpress.ncsu.edu. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to configure your site and add pages, posts, images, and more. You must request your WordPress Blog Site prior to the workshop. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Google Apps @ NC State Mail and Calendar Training” will be offered on Thursday, March 14 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. This hands-on workshop covers everything you need to know to get started with Gmail and Google Calendar at NC State. Please note that you need an active Unity ID in order to participate in this training. To register, visit Classmate.


Check other workshops on the
Classmate training calendar. If you’d like to request a custom training workshop for your department, unit or classroom, please complete the Custom Training online form. If you have any questions about OIT training, please email classreg@ncsu.edu.

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09: SAR training scheduled for Feb. 26
Security Access Request (SAR) training for campus requestors and approvers of access to secured university data will be held Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 9:30 a.m. to noon in the ITTC Lab 2 of D.H. Hill Library. SAR training will not be held in March. Please visit
Classmate to view available classes and to sign up for training.

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10: Update your software
If your computer is missing security patches, installing the best antivirus software won’t provide you with strong protection. For many years,
information security professionals have said antivirus software alone is ineffective at stopping modern malware mass-produced software for specific attacks via email or malicious online advertising.

Malware began to grow exponentially in the mid-2000s, and today, individuals with very little technical experience can buy numerous exploit packs — software that compromises unpatched browsers, Java, Flash Player or Adobe Acrobat — from $500 to $2,200 a month. Offered as a cloud service to criminals, this software allows Trojans to infect your PC when you visit a particular Web page and steal your personal data.

Are you at risk?
Despite popular assumptions that security risks grow as a person’s online activity becomes risky,
Cisco’s 2013 Annual Security Report stated that “the highest concentration of online security threats do not target pornography, pharmaceutical or gambling sites as much as they do legitimate destinations visited by mass audiences, such as major search engines, retail sites and social media outlets.” According to the report, online shopping sites are 21 times more likely to deliver malicious content than a counterfeit software site, and advertisements, ubiquitous on the Web, are 182 times more likely to deliver malicious content than smut sites.

Malicious advertising, called malvertising, can compromise a legitimate website via its server or via virus writers who buy ads to display through Internet advertising companies. Malvertising can also push malware to the visitor of a Web page without any interaction with the ad itself; it typically does so by exploiting known vulnerabilities in Web browsers, Flash or Java.

What can you do?
To protect yourself, update your operating systems (use Windows Update or Apple Update), Web browsers, and versions of Java, Adobe Flash and Adobe Acrobat Reader you have installed on your computer.

OIT has purchased Secunia patch management software that will be incorporated in the anti-malware strategy for university-owned computers later this year. You can download a free Secunia program called Personal Software Inspector (PSI) to your personally-owned Windows machine to patch commonly exploited applications. Keeping up with patches from numerous vendors can be tedious, but software like Secunia automates the process.

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