OIT News – March 2014

OIT News
Monthly news briefs, information and announcements
Office of Information Technology, NC State University
Issue 77, March 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: New antivirus software coming soon
02: University-wide IT Strategic Plan update
03: Data Center 2 renovation continues
04: Better protect your Google Apps @ NC State account with 2-Step Verification
05: Where am I surfing on my mobile device?
06: Nominations open for NC State’s Green Brick Awards
07: Get in on Website Accessibility and Google Apps training
08: SAR training scheduled for April 2
09: Look out for Phishing email targeting your direct deposit!

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01: New antivirus software coming soon
The Office of Information Technology (OIT) announces the purchase of Kaspersky antivirus products for NC State’s antivirus protection. Kaspersky will replace Trend Micro and will be available in two versions:

  • A personal version, to be installed only on personally-owned devices that will be connecting to NC State’s network, will be available late March for download from NC State Antivirus Resources.
  • A campus version, to be installed only on university-owned devices, is targeted to be available between mid-April and the end of May, after testing is complete. It is important that users of university-owned devices continue using Trend Micro until this version of Kaspersky is available.

Campus IT staff will be notified when these versions are available via SysNews, OIT News and other communications that target IT staff. Please contact your local IT person for more details.

For more information, please see NC State Antivirus Resources. Questions should be directed to the NC State Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu or 919.515.HELP (4357).

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02: University-wide IT Strategic Plan update
The IT Strategic Advisory Committee and Campus IT Directors have approved the latest drafts of the major components of the new university-wide IT Strategic Plan —  the IT Guiding Principles and IT Strategic Goals and Strategies. These elements of the plan will help align campus IT decisions with university priorities.

While the Process Steering Team is putting these documents into final form, a new Implementation Steering Team is being formed to develop action plans, timelines and metrics for the campus IT Strategic Plan.

To get the latest progress on the IT Strategic Plan, see the University IT Strategic Planning website.

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03: Data Center 2 renovation continues
The Data Center 2 (DC2) Team is proceeding with a seven-month power and cooling renovation that will help to mitigate the risks of future outages.

In preparation for this work, the Team executed three separate cooling exercises to determine temporary cooling needs and the processes necessary to sustain operations during the renovation.

Once the temporary cooling needs are implemented, the Team will proceed with the plumbing work that was originally planned for late March. Other DC2 power and cooling renovations, 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
By design, there will be no planned full shutdown of IT services in DC2. However, because of the nature of the pending work, there is risk of degradation of some IT services.

Please visit SysNews for continuing updates on this project.

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04: Better protect your Google Apps @ NC State account with 2-Step Verification
It’s no secret that spammers and phishers are looking for ways to trick you into responding to malicious email or hyperlinks to get your login credentials. On a daily basis, OIT assists users whose Google Apps @ NC State accounts have been compromised.

Unfortunately, spammers and phishers are getting more sophisticated in their attacks, so stay vigilant and verify links in email. As an additional defense, you should enable 2-Step Verification on your email account.

2-Step Verification, also known as 2 Factor Authentication, adds an additional layer of security when you sign in to your email account. Once you activate this security measure, you will be required to log in with your password and an additional security code that is delivered to your mobile device via text, voice call or mobile app. This security code is provided to you when you log in to your Google account from a device, application, or browser you haven’t previously used. (That is, you don’t necessarily have to enter this code every time.)

Visit 2-Step Verification for more information on how to set up and use this security measure. If you already have it set up for your personal account, don’t worry. You can use 2-Step Verification for more than one account on your mobile device.

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05: Where am I surfing on my mobile device?
Did you ever wonder if that interesting Web page link someone just sent to you in an email is really going to its intended location?  In today’s world of spam and malicious malware, you need to be sure.

To check a link on your phone or other mobile device, simply press and hold your finger down on the link and look at the actual text of the URL that pops up. Is it valid? Does it make sense to you? If not, don’t go there!

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06: Nominations open for NC State’s Green Brick Awards
Know a person or organization on campus that has helped make NC State, the community or world more sustainable?

Nominate them for NC State’s Green Brick Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions to sustainability. Nominations will be accepted through Wednesday, March 19. Through a sponsorship by Coca-Cola, winners in each category (student, faculty, staff, and department/organization) will receive $300 and campus recognition. Learn more and nominate online at Green Brick Awards.

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

  • “Website Accessibility Tune Ups” will be offered Friday, March 14 from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Do you have questions about your website’s accessibility, but don’t know who or what to ask? Greg Kraus, the University IT Accessibility Coordinator, will offer some easy steps to make your site more accessible. Even if you don’t have a website to share, you are welcome to come learn more about accessibility. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Google Updates” will be offered Wednesday, March 19 from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 216 of Scott Hall. Bring your lunch and join us for this informative session where members of the NC State Google Services Team will discuss new features recently rolled out to campus and will provide a refresher of other Google tools that can help you in your job. Primary topics include Google Groups, Resources and Generic Accounts and the security benefits of 2-Step Verification. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Gmail: Beyond the Basics” will be offered on Thursday, March 20 from 9 a.m. to noon in ITTC Lab 2 of D.H. Hill Library and again on Tuesday, April 15 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. This session will cover many Gmail features such as labels, search tools and settings along with an overview of the Compose interface, contacts management and tasks. 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.
  • “Google Slides” will be offered on Thursday, March 27 from 10 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Learn how to create your own presentations using Google Slides. This session will focus on sharing and collaboration, themes, transitions, animations, and more! If you would prefer to use your own laptop, feel free to bring it. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Gmail: Advanced Tools, Tips & Tricks” will be offered on Tuesday, April 1 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 Google features. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Google Drive: Forms” will be offered on Wednesday, April 2 from 10 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. 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 this interactive session on how to create and collaborate using Google Forms. In this workshop, you’ll learn the basics of creating forms and viewing responses and several advanced features such as 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. To register, visit Classmate.
  • “Google Apps: Google Calendar” will be offered on Wednesday, April 9 from 9 a.m. to noon in ITTC Lab 2 of D.H. Hill Library. 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.

For other available training sessions, see Classmate Scheduled 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 April 2
Security Access Request (SAR) training for campus requestors and approvers of access to secured university data will be held Wednesday, April 2 from 9:30 a.m. to noon in Room 108 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Please visit Classmate to sign up for training.

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09: Look out for Phishing email targeting your direct deposit!
Listen up! You may have already heard about the Phishing attempts against university employees’ direct deposits in OIT News. This message is worth repeating again because phishers are increasing their efforts, and it’s your personal information and money they are after!

The Center for Internet Security (CIS), a nonprofit organization focused on enhancing the cyber security readiness and response of public and private sector entities, reported that in at least three separate incidents in 2014, cyber hackers sent phishing email with malicious links to university employees. Those who clicked on the link were taken to fraudulent websites, resembling their university’s employee portal. The fraudulent websites collected single sign-on credentials, which were used to modify the employee’s direct deposit account information. The hackers then redirected the employee’s paycheck to a financial account under their control.

According to CIS, university employees reported that:

  • the malicious websites were poor copies of their university’s single sign-on portal; and
  • many of the email appeared as though they originate with their university.

Your help is needed in guarding against these types of attacks on NC State’s campus:

  • Keep your eyes open to email requesting your sign-on credentials. Remember that NC State IT personnel will never send you an email asking for your Unity account password.
  • If you receive phishing email, please forward it to abuse@ncsu.edu or call the NC State Help Desk at 515-HELP (4357).
  • If you respond to a phishing attack:
    • change your password immediately;
    • check your direct deposit information in the MyPack Portal; and
    • look for any Gmail filters (to redirect your mail) that may have been added to your email account while it was compromised.

Be vigilant. These phishing attacks are a constant and can be extremely damaging to you and the university.

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