OIT News – December 2014

OIT News
Monthly news briefs, information and announcements
Office of Information Technology, NC State University
Issue 86, December 2014


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


01: OIT implements Cyber Security Incident Response Program to fight threats
02: Web Registry renewals for Google groups, resources and generic accounts
03: Special help desk hours for disabled accounts during Winter Break
04: ‘Tis the season to save energy!
05: Experience Google’s enhancements and new Drive
06: Research tool delivers Google search results
07: OIT announces winter training schedule
08: SAR training scheduled for Jan. 14
09: Secure resolutions


01: OIT implements Cyber Security Incident Response Program to fight threats
To fight against cyber security threats that are happening right now, OIT Security and Compliance is developing the NC State Cyber Security Incident Response Program to ensure each campus college, unit and department:

  • has a basic understanding of the top cyber threats to its critical and sensitive systems.
  • takes the necessary steps to prevent successful attacks.
  • has a plan to respond in the event of a breach.

This year, Security and Compliance investigated a number of cyber security incidents including compromised servers and websites. Some of these attacks targeted sensitive data stored on the campus network. OIT was able to effectively respond to these attacks in a manner that reduced the financial, operational and reputational risks to the university. However, it became clear that the university needed a solid response and recovery strategy to train first responders to prevent missteps in reacting to cyber security incidents.

Under the new program, OIT is:

  • developing incident response procedures and a flow chart to outline the necessary steps to effectively respond to a cybersecurity incident.
  • providing general cyber security incident response training to help campus system administrators detect if their computers have been hacked and to determine what steps to take next.
  • providing cyber security incident training to campus help desk professionals and other first responders to identify red flags in routine IT problem tickets.
  • coordinating cyber security incident response workshops with colleges and departments to develop specific incident response plans for critical systems and systems that store or provide access to sensitive data.

The Cyber Security Incident Response Program is part of the university’s cyber security roadmap, slated to be implemented over the next three to five years. For additional information and to participate in this program, contact Leo Howell, OIT Security and Compliance assistant director of IT Policy and Compliance, at leo_howell@ncsu.edu.

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02: Web Registry renewals for Google groups, resources and generic accounts
Beginning Monday, Jan. 5, OIT will send Web Registry renewal notifications to individuals listed as contacts for Google groups, resources or generic accounts. The renewal deadline is Monday, Feb. 16.

To ensure you receive your notification, log in to Web Registry now to update your administrative and technical contacts for your Web Registry items. Remove contacts that are no longer valid and add new ones as necessary.

The email notification that you will receive on or shortly after Jan. 5 will have 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 Feb. 16. If you do not receive a notification, check your spam folder. You can also create a mail filter to alert you of renewal notifications or forward them to your email folder.

If you have any questions concerning the renewal notification, contact the NC State Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu.

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03: Special help desk hours for disabled accounts during Winter Break
The NC State Help Desk is extending its hours of operation during the Winter Break to assist campus users who may have had their accounts disabled as the result of security concerns.

If you are unable to log in to your account, please contact the NC State Help Desk at help@ncsu.edu or 919.515.HELP (4357) on:

  • Friday, Dec. 26, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 1, 9 a.m. to noon.

This service does not extend to in-person assistance and because of limited staff availability will be focused only on account security

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04: ‘Tis the season to save energy!
During the Winter Break, most facilities on NC State campus are closed. To conserve energy, the university will implement from Wednesday, Dec. 24 to Sunday, Jan. 4 the Winter Holiday Energy Saving Initiative by lowering temperatures in most campus buildings and turning off lights and unnecessary electronics.

Last year, this initiative saved NC State $288,590 during the Winter Break, and since its inception in 2005, it has reduced utility costs by $2.5 million. To help reduce energy consumption, before you leave for the Winter Break:

  • Turn off any non-essential electronics, including scanners, printers and other computer peripherals that won’t be used while you’re away.
  • Consider a “shutdown” of your computer as opposed to a “sleep” or “hibernate” state, if compatible with your business processes.
  • Turn off lights and close all doors and windows.

For more ways to reduce energy consumption, visit the Winter Holiday Energy Saving Initiative website.

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05: Experience Google’s enhancements and new Drive
Last month, Google released several updates for mobile apps, Hangouts and online security and announced a new look for Google Drive.

  • Share documents in Google Hangouts
    You can now share a Google Doc in a Hangout video call by pasting its link in the chat box. A preview of the document will appear below the link. This feature replaces the Google Drive Hangouts app, which is no longer available, effective today.
  • Google Apps mobile updates
    Google has changed the look of its Gmail and Calendar apps for Android users and offers iOS users a new version of Drive that has additional security and convenience features.
  • Increased Security
    Google’s new security tools provide better control options for you to safeguard your accounts. From the new Devices and Activity page, you can now more easily view devices that are currently signed in or have been active in the past month. If suspicious activity is detected, you can secure your account directly from this page.
  • New Google Drive
    As early as Jan. 13, Google will enable by default a new interface for Google Drive. To experience the new Drive now:

    • Open your Google Drive account.
    • Select Settings.
    • Choose Experience the New Drive.

For more information and a detailed tour of what’s new, join members of the Google Service Team in a Hangout on Air on Jan. 15 from noon to 1 p.m. Visit the Google+ event page to join the video conference.

For more details on Google’s enhancements, check out the November edition of Google Apps What’s New. You can also follow the Google Service Team on:

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06: Research tool delivers Google search results
Have you discovered the Research tool in Google Docs and Slides? This powerful resource connects you directly to Google search results including definitions, links, images, and more. To use Research:

  1. Highlight a keyword or phrase in your Google Doc or Slides presentation.
  2. From the Tools menu option, choose Research. A Web Results menu will appear on the right of your open document.
  3. Sort your results by images, quotes, definitions, etc.
  4. Drag and drop links or images from the results menu directly into your document.

For more Google training tips, follow OIT on:

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07: OIT announces winter training schedule
Some of OIT’s upcoming training courses include:

  • Introduction to Google Hangouts – Laptop/Desktop Application will be offered on Tuesday, Dec. 16 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. This is a fun and interactive workshop to learn about the emergence of Google Hangouts, a free Web conferencing tool that allows easy communication on campus or across the globe via video, audio and text messaging. Come to learn how to use the Hangouts platform and its many helpful features. You are encouraged to bring a laptop to the session and can register via Classmate.
  • Google Calendar will be offered on Wednesday, Dec. 17 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 appointment slots, event attachments, maps and directions, sharing and embedding calendars, labs, quick add, search options, mobile notifications, scheduling online meetings, and more. For prerequisite information and to register, visit Classmate.
  • Introduction to Google Services at NC State will be offered on Wednesday, Jan. 14 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Workshop topics will include a review of currently available Google apps on campus, accessibility, recommended settings, security tips, support, Web Registry tools (generic accounts, calendar resources, etc.), and much more! To register, visit Classmate.
  • Gmail: Beyond the Basics will be offered on Wednesday Jan. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. This workshop will provide an in-depth overview of Gmail features, including Labels, Search tools, Contacts management, Chat, Tasks, Settings, Labs, and new features. If time permits, there will be a brief introduction to Google Hangouts. To register, visit Classmate.
  • Create and Collaborate with Google Drive will be offered on Thursday, Jan. 22 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 110 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. In this hands-on workshop, you will learn everything you need to know to get started using Google Docs/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.

For other available training sessions, visit Classmate Scheduled Workshops. If you are interested in custom software training, please complete the Custom Training Form. If you have any questions about OIT Training, contact Katie McInerney, OIT training coordinator, at 919.513.4091 or via email at classreg@ncsu.edu.

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08: SAR training scheduled for Jan. 14
Security Access Request (SAR) training for campus requestors and approvers of access to secured university data will be held Wednesday, Jan. 14 from 9:30 a.m. to noon in Room 108 of the Avent Ferry Technology Center. Visit Classmate to register for training.

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09: Secure resolutions
It’s almost 2015 and a new year is a good time to make secure resolutions. OIT Security and Compliance’s resolution is to protect you and your data! Here’s what you can do to help:

  • Arm yourself with security knowledge by watching two-minute security awareness videos at  SANS Securing the Human.
  • Install free Kaspersky antivirus. Using up-to-date antivirus software has reduced the number and severity of virus outbreaks on campus. You can install Kaspersky on up to three of your personal devices. See NC State Antivirus Resources for more information.
  • Beware of phishing attacks. Never give your password to anyone! NC State will NEVER ask for your password. Two to three percent of NC State accounts are compromised on any given day. Replying to phishing email can temporarily shut down your account. Far worse, your identity can be stolen.
  • Change your password often (use passphrases) and don’t share it with anyone. It is a university policy violation to share your password.
  • Turn on password protection for your laptops, tablets and cell phones. Set the idle timeout so your device locks when not used.
  • Do not check “remember my password” boxes. In doing so, you can prevent applications from storing your password locally on your device. Instead, type your password in each time you need to log in to an application.
  • Activate Google’s 2-Step Verification to provide an additional layer of security for your Google Apps @ NC State account. When activated, you will be required to log in not only with your password, but also with an additional security code that is delivered via text, call or mobile app. You can also print a list of security codes. So, even if your account is compromised, the bad guys cannot access it without also having access to your mobile device or additional security codes. To get started, see Sign in with 2-Step Verification. For additional information, see 2-Step Verification.
  • Keep your apps and operating systems up-to-date. Reboot your devices at least weekly to allow updates to install.
  • Back up your data regularly to a separate location to prevent data loss and to protect you from ransomware.
  • Use encryption software or built-in encryption options on your device to protect sensitive university data.
  • Set up lost/stolen location services on your device. Ask NC State police to engrave your mobile devices (for free).

For more information on how to secure your devices, visit Mobile Device Security Requirements and Recommendations.

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