OIT News – January 2014

OIT News
Monthly news briefs, information and announcements
Office of Information Technology, NC State University
Issue 75, January 2014

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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: Keep It Private: Celebrating Data Privacy Month
02: New, consistent sign-on experience coming to Google Apps @ NC State
03: Web Registry renewals for Google groups, resources and generic accounts
04: Reminder: NC State to end Windows XP support
05: New SAS licenses and software updates available
06: Contractor chosen for Data Center 2 renovation project
07: Get in on Google Apps and WordPress training
08: SAR training scheduled for Feb. 6
09: Don’t get hooked by Phishing!

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01: Keep It Private: Celebrating Data Privacy Month
It’s a new year and a good time to resolve to protect your personal and business information while you’re on the go! Data on your mobile devices grows every day and you can access almost everything from these devices: email, bank accounts, Google docs, shopping websites, pictures, videos, and Facebook and Twitter accounts. The features that make your data so accessible also make your device vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Join us during Data Privacy Month, Jan. 28 through Feb. 28, to learn how to protect your privacy and control your digital footprint while using Google Android and Apple iOS-enabled devices.

Josh Snapp of OIT Technology Support Services will present “Mobile Security for the Android” on Tuesday, Jan. 28, which is Data Privacy Day, and Everette Allen of OIT Outreach, Communications and Consulting will present “Mobile Security for iOS Devices,” on Wednesday, Jan. 29. Both presentations will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in 216 Scott Hall. Come to learn how to use a screen lock passcode, encrypt the data on your device, back up the data on your device, locate your device if it’s lost, scan your device for malware, and much more. To register for the presentations, visit Classmate.

Other activities scheduled during Data Privacy Month include:

  • Mobile Security Check Points: Do you have mobile security concerns or general computing questions? An OIT trainer is coming to you to arm you with answers. Look for the OIT pop-up banner from noon to 1 p.m. at the following campus locations:
    • Tuesday, Feb. 4, D.H. Hill Library
    • Thursday, Feb. 13, James B. Hunt Jr. Library
  • Security Videos: OIT has a number of videos available to keep you from becoming a hacker’s target. Watch You are the Target, Wi-Fi Security, Social Networking, Data Protection, PII, Passwords, Mobile Devices, Encryption, and more!
  • Mobile Security Tips: OIT is advertising a variety of security tips to promote the privacy of data and safe computing during this month. Look for these tips on campus billboards, the Data Privacy Month 2014 website, the OIT website, and on Twitter @oit_ncsu.
  • Resources: Visit the Data Privacy Month 2014 website to learn more about other privacy protection resources you can use.

Sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance, Data Privacy Month also stresses the “protection of privacy and data as everyone’s priority.” For more information about these campus activities, visit the Data Privacy Month 2014 website.

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02: New, consistent sign-on experience coming to Google Apps @ NC State
Currently, Google Apps @ NC State users have two ways to log in to core Google Apps, e.g. Gmail: gmail.ncsu.edu or gmail.com.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 20, users who typically log in through gmail.ncsu.edu will be re-directed automatically to gmail.com, which features a new sign-in page requiring users’ full email address (unityid@ncsu.edu). Google is initiating this change to provide a consistent login experience and to better protect users against phishing attacks.

If you have any questions about this change or the new sign-in page, please contact the NC State Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu or 919.515.HELP (4357).

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03: Web Registry renewals for Google groups, resources and generic accounts
Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 22, OIT will send Web Registry renewal notifications to individuals listed as contacts for Google groups, resources or generic accounts. This annual renewal time provides an opportunity for contacts to delete those items they no longer need. The renewal deadline is Saturday, March 15.

If you are listed as a contact, you will receive an email on or shortly after Jan. 22 with instructions on how to renew and/or request deletion of a Google group, resource or generic account. Please be sure to respond to this request when it arrives, as non-responses are treated as requests to delete. OIT will send several reminder notifications to you prior to March 15.

This is also an excellent time for you to log in to Web Registry to make sure both your administrative and technical contacts are up-to-date. Over the course of a year, people change jobs or leave the university, and the contacts get outdated. It’s important to keep contacts current so that you can effectively manage your item(s) in Web Registry.

If you have any questions concerning the renewal notification, please contact the NC State Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu or 919.515.HELP (4357).

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04: Reminder: NC State to end Windows XP support
Effective April 8, Microsoft will no longer provide the following support for Windows XP:

  • Security patches
  • Additional new or enhanced device support
  • Software functionality and compatibility upgrades

See also: What does it mean if my version of Windows is no longer supported?

As a result, NC State plans to remove these machines from the campus network on April 30, unless they have been approved as part of the Windows XP exception process.

Campus departments should immediately begin identifying and upgrading their computers running Windows XP or any earlier versions of Windows. OIT will provide information to assist with the identification of these machines along with detailed information for the exception by Jan. 31.

If you have any questions, please contact the NC State Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu or 919.515.HELP (4357).

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05: New SAS licenses and software updates available
NC State students, faculty and staff are now able to update their SAS licenses and software to the latest version on their personal computers as well as university machines.

With the license expiration date extended to Dec. 31, 2014, OIT Software Licensing Management (SLM) is offering newly updated SAS licenses for JMP Pro, JMP Genomics and SAS. See Where can I get the latest license file? (login required). Furthermore, new versions of SAS 9.4 and JMP Pro 11 are available for download via the Software @ NC State website.

If you have any questions about licenses or software, email sas@ncsu.edu.

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06: Contractor chosen for Data Center 2 renovation project
The Data Center 2 (DC2) Project Team has selected a contractor to perform power and cooling renovations in DC2, which will impact many campus IT services this spring. The team plans to generate a detailed timeline for completion of the renovations later this month.

These renovations, which will help mitigate risks of future outages in DC2, include:

  • Installing a backup supply of chilled water to reduce the data center’s reliance on a single primary source of cooling.
  • Installing an independent backup generator to reduce the non-data center loads on the existing generator.
  • Replacing the remaining air cooled climate control units with water cooled units to reduce data center power consumption for cooling.

Project impact

During this renovation, the campus community will likely experience one or more periods of service outage or degradation of OIT services.

During periods of highest risk, OIT plans to bring down non-essential services in an effort to reduce DC2’s overall heat and power load. This action will help the data center weather temporary potential power and cooling losses. In the event that these preparatory actions prove insufficient to offset a loss of power or cooling, OIT may need to bring down additional services.

All efforts are being made to minimize the project’s impact on OIT services; however, please be aware that OIT will not be able to mitigate all risk to its services during the active phases of this project, and OIT will not have complete control of when the work will occur.

OIT will publish updates in OIT News with further project details and will seek your input as it schedules necessary periods of service disruption. OIT greatly appreciates your understanding and flexibility regarding this important project.

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07: Get in on Google Apps and WordPress training
OIT is offering the following upcoming workshops:

  • “Create and Collaborate with Google Drive” will be held on Thursday, Jan. 23 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. In this hands-on workshop, you learn everything you need to know to get started using Google Drive at NC State. You will learn how to use Drive in a collaborative environment, including editing a file simultaneously with other people, securing a document through file sharing permissions, and creating files for use by a group of colleagues or friends. For this workshop, you will need to have an active NC State University Unity account with access to Google Apps at NC State. If you would prefer using your own laptop or other mobile device, feel free to bring it. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Gmail: Beyond the Basics” will be offered on Wednesday, Jan. 29 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. In this workshop, you will receive an in-depth overview of Google Apps @ NC State. This session will cover many Gmail features (labels, search tools, settings, etc.) along with an overview of the Compose interface, contacts management and tasks. A reference guide with many additional helpful resources will also be provided. If you would prefer using your own laptop or other mobile device, feel free to bring it. You should have basic familiarity with Gmail operations (account log-in, composing, responding to mail, etc.) as a prerequisite. To register, visit Classmate.
  • Are you looking for a way to easily create surveys, plan events or gather data? Are you interested in learning more about specific apps available in Google Drive? If so, don’t miss “Google Drive: Forms” on Thursday, Jan. 30 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. This workshop will cover the basics of creating forms and viewing responses, while also highlighting several advanced features (embedding forms in websites, adding page breaks, and incorporating question validation). If you would prefer to use your own laptop, feel free to bring it. For this workshop, you must have an active NC State University Unity account with access to Google Apps at NC State. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Google Apps: Google Calendar” will be offered on Tuesday, Feb. 4 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. If you’re comfortable with the basics of Google Calendar and are ready to use some more of its features, this hands-on workshop is for you. This workshop will focus on features such as appointment slots, event attachments, maps and directions, sharing and embedding calendars, labs, quick add, search options, mobile notifications, and more. If you would prefer using your own laptop or other mobile device, feel free to bring it. You should have basic familiarity with Gmail operations (account log-in, composing, responding to mail, etc.) as a prerequisite. To register, visit Classmate.

  • “Introduction to Google Sites” will be offered on Wednesday, Feb. 5 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. In this class, you will learn:
    • how to create a website using Google Sites
    • how to control access
    • how to embed Docs, video, images, and links
    • customization and basic Web design principles

To register, visit Classmate.

  • Heard of “WordPress” and want to see what it’s all about? Learn everything you need to know to get started using WordPress here at NC State. The “Basics of WordPress” will be held on Thursday, Feb. 6 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. This workshop will include several topics: setup, configuration, themes, plug-ins, settings, options, and management of WordPress. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Introduction to Google Hangouts – Laptop/Desktop Application” will be offered on Wednesday, Feb. 12 from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Come to this fun and interactive workshop to learn about Google Hangouts, Google’s free Web conferencing tool that allows you to communicate with others on campus or around the globe via video, audio and text messaging. Learn how to use the Hangouts platform to share your screen and documents, add a personalized banner, and download apps that offer additional helpful features. This session will cover using Hangouts on your laptop or desktop only. You are encouraged to bring a laptop to the session, or feel free to just observe. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Gmail: Advanced Tools, Tips & Tricks” will be offered on Thursday, Feb. 13 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. If you’re comfortable with the basics of Gmail and are ready to take it to the next level, this more advanced hands-on workshop is for you. You will learn more about creating labels, filters and canned responses, scheduling Google Calendar Events, and using Google Drive through Gmail, along with any planned or newly released features Google has in store. To register, visit Classmate.

Check the Classmate training calendar for other available workshops. If you’re interested in custom software training for your department, unit or classroom, please complete the Custom Training form. If you have any questions about OIT training, please contact Katie McInerney, OIT training coordinator, at 513-4091 or via email at classreg@ncsu.edu.

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08: SAR training scheduled for Feb. 6
Security Access Request (SAR) training for campus requestors and approvers of access to secured university data will be held Thursday, Feb. 6 from 9:30 a.m. to noon in the Room 108 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Please visit Classmate to sign up for training.

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09: Don’t get hooked by Phishing!
As the spring semester starts, NC State email accounts are being targeted with advanced phishing attacks to steal your personal information (account names, passwords and banking and credit card information). These phishing attacks can be extremely damaging to you and NC State University.

Phishing attacks are typically associated with email, and most are implemented when someone clicks a link to malicious online content – often a webform designed to trick users into thinking they are entering information into a trusted website such as Facebook or PayPal. These attackers often will perform reconnaissance (via a simple Google search) on a specific target and then craft a sophisticated pretext to increase the likelihood of their success.

For several years now, email accounts at NC State have been targeted using advanced phishing attacks. Attackers have made perfect copies of just about every login page on any ncsu.edu website and then sent thousand of emails enticing campus users to visit them. These sites includes the MyPack Portal, NCSU Shibboleth, the Google Docs login page and the NC State WRAP login page. Phishing emails sent to @ncsu.edu accounts have included a great deal of information about the university. They have referenced:

  • North Carolina State University
  • NC State logos, banners and template graphics
  • Shibboleth logins
  • OIT
  • Unity username
  • Names in the Campus Directory
  • Support@ncsu.edu or help@ncsu.edu
  • Google Apps for education

Why is protecting your email account and password important? The ncsu.edu domain is very old and, as such, is trusted on the Internet. Email sent from your account is unlikely to be tagged as spam, so it will get delivered to the target’s Inbox. Sustaining phishing and spamming operations seems to be the most common reason for phishing attacks. In one situation, a university discovered attackers had used employees’ passwords to modify direct deposit information in its payroll system, diverting monthly paychecks to the attackers’ accounts. In other cases, attackers used stolen passwords to erase email, pictures and Google docs.

Please remember that NC State IT personnel will never ask you for your password via email or telephone. They do not need it for maintenance or upgrades.

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