Important New Services and Updates
Inside.SMU, powered by Microsoft Sharepoint 2010, will be available for faculty and staff use beginning October 11. Inside.SMU is a powerful team collaboration solution. For more details on this new service, visit http://www.smu.edu/OIT/StayInformed/TechnologyNews/August/Inside.aspx
To request a site for team collaboration, visit http://help.smu.edu beginning October 11. The form will not be avaialble until then.
Several information sessions have been scheduled to introduce this new technology. Click here for session and registration information. We hope to see you there!
- October 13 10:30-11:30 Blanton 110-112
- October 14 2:30-3:30 Expressway Towers
- October 19 2:30-3:30 Blanton 110-112
- October 28 9:30-10:30 Blanton 110-112
- November 4 2:30-3:30 Blanton 110-112
Additional sessions and training resources will be made available following the official launch.
Office 2010 Deployment
Microsoft Office 2010 is currently being deployed to all IT managed machines across campus. You can request the upgrade at any time by sending the ITS number of your computer to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are working on scheduling the deployment by departments. The current plan is to have all machines upgraded to Office 2010 by the end of the year. Individual upgrades are distributed via LanDesk and installed at 7:00pm on the targeted machines. Due to the impact to the network of deploying a large software package to multiple machines, we will be targeting larger groups during the weekend. These deployments will occur on a randomized schedule throughout the weekend.
Prior to your scheduled weekend, please reboot your computer and disable any sleep/hibernation settings. Then leave your computers on (but locked) with all office applications closed during your scheduled upgrade weekend. A detailed schedule of the deployments will be available on our website during the first week of October. Office 2010 has been tested with a number of departmental applications as well as our standard suite of software. There are no known compatibility issues with this version.
Office 2011 for Mac
Office 2011 has officially been released for Macintosh computers. The new office suite discards the old Entourage client and now has a fully compatible Outlook client for Macs! The new Outlook client offers some calendaring enhancements making it easier to view scheduling availability from within your email messages. Office 2011 also supports real time collaboration through the integration with Sharepoint (Inside.smu.edu). Powerpoint now features a new "broadcast" setting that allows you to share your presentation over the web with no software downloads or additional requirements for the end user.
OIT is in the process of creating the deployment package for Office 2011 to deliver this upgrade to Macs via LanDesk. Once the package is available, customers can request the upgrade by emailing their ITS number to email@example.com , or by simply waiting for their departmental deployment. The schedule for this deployment will be posted during the month of October.
Regardless of your computer platform (Mac, Windows or Linux), desktop security is a concern for all of us. Malware and other security threats can not only jeopardize information stored on our computers, but can also threaten information stored in other accounts—such as bank accounts, Enterprise Systems, etc. The following checklist should be completed on a regular basis.
Run all security updates for the operating system: These updates are released on a monthly basis although some critical updates are released outside of the normal cycle. It is imperative that these patches are applied promptly.
Run all security updates for the various applications installed on your computer: Each application vendor provides updates for their application which addresses functionality issues as well as security issues. It is important to apply these updates whenever they are available from the vendor.
Double check your security software: Whatever security software you have installed on your computer, it is important to ensure that it is updating and working correctly on a regular basis. Many viruses will target the antivirus applications and shut down key components. Although the anti virus application appears to still be working, the application may not be receiving updates or other features may be preventing it from scanning. Verify that your antivirus and antispyware software is enabled, updating and scanning regularly!
Verify firewall settings: A desktop firewall should be enabled on your computer. Both Mac and Windows Operating Systems have built in firewall capabilities. Some security products also offer this functionality (such as Norton). Each computer should have a firewall enabled to prevent or minimize the danger of an incoming or outgoing attack.
Be careful of file sharing: If you have file sharing enabled, verify that the shares are not open to everyone but restricted to a specific group or individual. Be very careful of any type of application which incorporates a shared folder (such as LimeWire or other Peer to peer applications) as these render your computer vulnerable to attack. If you need to share files, consider using locker.smu.edu as a safer alternative.
Protect your computer with a password and screen saver lock: Once you have logged into your computer, the data stored on that computer and any accounts that are accessed with stored passwords are available to anyone with physical access to your machine. Protect this data by requiring a start up password. Be sure to also set a screen saver password so that the data is always protected.
IT has several client security management procedures in place to help protect IT managed computers. However, you are responsible for checking your home computers and ensuring the security of your office machine as well.
Facebook is the number one U.S. site. It gets more visits than Google and visitors spend more time on the social network site than at the search engine. Think about that for a second…
While people visiting Google are searching for random things, those 500+ million members of Facebook are looking at you and your "friends." Not all of them have good intentions and that can be scary. Here are someways to protect yourself and your security while using Facebook.
Privacy Settings is the simplest way to protect yourself using Facebook, or any social network.
To begin, go to http://www.facebook.com/privacy/ and look at your settings. What information do you share on Facebook?
Here are the typical default settings for Facebook privacy:
and here are the settings for someone who has thought about what they want to share and with whom:
Now that you've started looking at those settings, let's limit some of that information. Does the world need to know when it's your birthday? How about where you go? Or what photo you just got tagged in? Better yet, does your mom or grandma need to know?
While the basic privacy settings give you some control over your privacy on Facebook, "Friend Lists" give super user control. Friend Lists allow you to organize your friends on Facebook in to lists or groups, but you can also use them to target privacy settings. You can have a list for "High School Buddies," "Real Friends," or even "Family." You can then use these Friend Lists to limit your settings. So, only "Real Friends" can see "Photos and videos I'm tagged in," and My status, photos, and posts can be hidden from the "All My Ex's Live In Texas" list.
The best way to protect yourself is to just limit the amount of information. One of Facebook's newest features is "Facebook Places." This Facebook feature allows you to share your location by "checking in" to that place and letting friends know where you are and see if any of your friends have also chosen to check in nearby. This feature also tells people where you are not… home.
If you've set this notice to be public, then anyone will see your location. Does everyone one need to know where you are right now? Probably not. Could it be useful? Sure, but in moderation. You might just want to limit this to a smaller list of friends, like "Real Friends" or "Family."
Another good idea is to limit the number of "Friends" and "Apps" you have in Facebook. Do you really have 1,952 friends or the need for 207 apps? Each one of those friends and apps have access to your account and information. Be selective with who you allow to be your friend and disable any apps that you are not actively using.
Google yourself. Type in your name to Google and see what comes up. Not on the first page, try adding SMU to the search. Like what you see?
You can do the same thing with Facebook. Look at your profile page as others see it. By going to the Basic Directory Information section of Your Privacy Settings, you can preview your profile. This is how most people on Facebook will see your profile. This is not your friends, not your family, but people you don't know and have never met. Too much information? Is there anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see? If so, change who can see it.
A Few More Words
Here are just a few more words of warning. Unless you've locked down your privacy settings, you might not want to use your exact birth date or your full name, and don't tag your parents as a relative. Only let the people you know and trust, have that information. If you've ever filled out a credit card application, you know that date of birth and your mother’s maiden name are the two identifiers most used by creditors, even though that information can be found publicly, you don't want to make it too easy. Most of all, don't add people you do not know (and there is nothing saying you have to add everyone you do know) to your select group of friends.
Have fun and be safe.
Forefront--- Red, Blue, Green, Yellow… do you know what it means?
All SMU Windows computers should have Microsoft Forefront installed providing Anti Virus and Anti Spyware protection.
The Forefront icon displays in the system tray located at the bottom right corner of your screen. You may notice,
that the icon changes colors depending on the state of the software and your computer system. Do you know what
the various colors mean?
• Green: A green icon means that Forefront is correctly installed, updated and working properly.
• Grey: Forefront is configured to run a daily quick scan of your computer to detect any malware or suspicious
items. When this scan is running, the icon changes to a grey icon with a spinning wheel. No action is required.
• Yellow: A yellow icon means that Forefront is reporting a warning. Typically this indicates that the definitions
need to be updated or that a system scan has not completed in three days. Simply double click on the icon to determine
what action is required.
• Blue: The Forefront icon will turn blue whenever a non-approved system change is detected. This could include
changing your home page, installing a new plug in or other changes to the Windows directory. A pop-up window will
appear when the icon changes to this state indicating that Forefront needs your help determining how to handle the
item. Simply double click on the Forefront icon and review the list of items. If you initiated the change, simply select
Permit as the default action. If you did not initiate the change, please exercise caution!
• Red: The Forefront icon will turn red if malware is detected. In most cases, Forefront will be able to clean the
malware for you. Double click on the icon and then select Smart Clean. Once Forefront removes the item, please
reboot your computer. In many cases, the remediation is not complete until the computer system is restarted.
The faculty and staff computers on campus are configured to report the status of Forefront to the IT managed server.
The IT staff review the malware reports on a daily basis to determine any computers that need follow up attention.
This allows IT to respond more quickly to malware infections on a machine and better protect the SMU network.
Please note, home computers or computers in the residence halls with Forefront installed do not report to IT. Please
observe the Forefront icon and ensure that your system is adequately protected.
Identity theft is a growing problem that affects thousands of individuals annually. Sometimes it occurs as the result of negligence on the part of a company or business that has access to your personal information. Sometimes, it is the result of our own behaviors.
What can you do to help prevent identity theft?
- Verify that your computer is in good health (see the Desktop Security article for a checklist)
- If you have an SMU laptop, ensure that it is encrypted. That way, if it is stolen, the information contained on that machine can not be retrieved
- Protect your various accounts with a strong password
- Be careful of clicking links in suspicious emails
- Never respond to email that requests your information, such as account numbers, passwords, personal data
- Never supply credit card information via email, fax or on any website that doesn’t display the “security lock” icon
- Be wary of any phone calls requesting personal information
- Shred all paper or store them securely
Your passwords are very important to the security of all the information you access. Your personal information is equally as important as the personal information of our SMU community. Many of us at SMU handle personal information such as: credit card information, medical information, insurance, grades, donor names, donation amounts, salaries, etc. A single password giving access to the right information could compromise thousands of accounts. Every bit of the information on our computers, networks, and online accounts must be treated as being confidential, even if you don’t think it is.
A strong password should use a mix of upper and lower case letters, digits, and special characters. Avoid using words that can be found in a dictionary and do not use personal information such as birthdates, names, or anniversary dates. Consider using a “pass phrase” as your password. Use the first letter of each word in a sentence, phrase, poem, or song title as a password. Be sure to add in upper and lower case, numbers, and special characters. The longer a password, the stronger it is. If you have established a password but it is not strong –please change it!
To test out a password and determine its strength, try the password checker from Microsoft:
Email and IM Security
Most of us rely heavily on electronic communication. Whether we use it to stay connected to others or to solve business problems, we extend a great deal of trust to these technologies. However, individuals who write virus or malware programs target these technologies to capture your data.
Much has been shared about email security over the past several years. Phishing emails still run rampant, but individuals are exercising a little bit more caution in responding. These emails specifically request that you provide personal information such as account information, passwords, social security numbers, etc. The messages are typically poorly written and the from and reply to address does not match the company they supposedly represent. Please continue to exercise caution with any email that requests that you provide personal information.
Because people are generally becoming more cautious about these emails, malware writers are turning to other mediums including Texting and Instant Messaging. These messages typically include a link which delivers the malware to your device. In fact, a large number of the latest viruses and network threats are being released through these mediums.
- Make sure your password is strong.
- Don’t automatically accept incoming messages or file transfers. Change the privacy settings within your IM client to ensure that you have control over who can contact you.
- Don’t discuss confidential information via IM. Most IM clients do not offer the same level of security as an email client. Therefore, the conversations are sent over the internet in plain text. Confidential information could easily be intercepted if transmitted via IM.
- Watch for security updates for your IM client or cell phone.
- If you don’t recognize the sender of the message, don’t continue the conversation.
There are a number of safety tips depending on what types of activities you are engaging in on the internet. Whether it's online shopping, downloading, chatting or socializing, it is important to protect your personal information at all times. The following tips are just a few of the suggestions to increase your security online.
•Turn on pop up blocker settings in your browser.
•Install and maintain an anti spyware application.
•Be wary of storing personal information on sites. You can make up a screen name and password for sites requiring a login but not performing any financial transactions.
•Be careful of what you download! Know the source.
•Use secure online payment services such as PayPal wherever possible.
•Always look for the security "lock" icon on the browser's status bar.
•Use credit cards rather than debit cards.
•Keep a record of what you pay for and always check your online purchases against your statements.
•Anything you type in a chat room can be seen by everyone who is using that chat room. So be careful what you type.
•Choose a non identifiable, non gender specific screen name.
•Never give out personal information (telephone, real name, cell phone, mailing address etc).
•Never accept files or downloads from people you don't know.
•Never arrange to meet someone offline that you only know through chat room conversations.