New Ransomware Threat – Update your Windows Systems!

A new email phishing threat is circulating that could install ransomware on unpatched Windows systems.  Ransomware encrypts documents and files on your system and network file shares, rendering them unusable until a ransom is paid to the attacker.  Infected email attachments are delivering this malware, and once a victim’s system is compromised, the infection can spread rapidly to other workstations.  This new ransomware has already shut down hospitals in Europe (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/world/europe/uk-national-health-service-cyberattack.html?_r=0) but is being detected in other countries now also.

If you haven’t installed any Windows updates since March, your system could be vulnerable to this threat.

To keep yourself protected:

  • DO NOT open any attachments or click any links inside emails that you are not expecting, even if the email appears to come from someone you know.
  • If you get an email with an attachment from someone you know and believe it may be legitimate, follow up with that person over the phone or in person to verify the validity of the email – DO NOT email them to verify!
  • Install Windows updates as soon as they are issued from Microsoft.
  • Keep your Windows firewall on at all times, even when connected to work or other “trusted” networks.
  • Make sure your antivirus program is updating daily.

In most cases, suspicious emails can be safely ignored and deleted, but you can also flag them as spam inside Gmail.  If you are uncertain about the legitimacy of an email, you can call or email the Help Desk for additional guidance.

Google Begins Updating Their Gmail Login Page

Beginning on April 10th, Google started updating the look of their Gmail login page.

unnamed-1(Image by Google)

By altering the look of the login screen, Google is attempting to make accessing your email account a more consistent and streamlined process. The login screen will now be the same across all platforms (smartphones, tablets, and computers).

This change is only a cosmetic one. You will still use your full SUNY Oswego email address and password to sign into your LakerApps Gmail account.

Please refer to Google’s knowledge base article for more information or contact the Help Desk for further assistance.

Help Desk, Campus Technology Services
26 Lanigan | help@oswego.edu | 315.312.3456

Significant Changes to INB Banner on the Horizon

There are significant changes coming to INB Banner in the next few months due to Oracle’s plans to de-support Oracle Forms. Ellucian is replacing each INB Banner form with a Banner 9 Administrative Page ( aka Transformed Form ).

In order to prepare for this next phase of INB Banner from Ellucian, SUNY Oswego will be changing over to a required method for Banner access. The Ellucian SSO Manager must be utilized in order to provide Banner authentication. The SSO Manager uses a Central Authentication Server to login to Banner.  This means that you will need to use your Oswego Laker NetID credentials ( decker ) when logging into Banner. Your Laker NetID should be entered lowercase, and your password will be case sensitive. Your password will be the same password that you use for email and other systems on campus.

On April 26, 2017, SUNY Oswego will convert to the SSO Manager for Banner authentication. Please note the following points:

  • You will need to continue to use Internet Explorer as a browser to run Banner.

  • Any bookmarked links you may have to start Banner will no longer work. To connect to Banner, visit http://banner.oswego.edu and click the start Banner link.

  • The new SSOmanager logon process will replace the current Banner logon prompt.

    • You no longer need to remember a separate password for Banner.

    • When you have completed work for the day, you must be sure to logout of Banner, then also be sure to exit out of ALL Internet Explorer browser windows. This is an important step to protect unauthorized access to your Banner account.

Please contact the CTS Help Desk at 315.312.3456 or help@oswego.edu with questions or if you need assistance.

Microsoft to Issue Patch Today (4/11) for Banking Malware

A new twist on an old threat tactic could allow hackers to compromise your computer and steal your information. As with similar campaigns, infected Microsoft Office documents are sent as attachments in spam emails. However, no interaction is required on the part of the victim this time around. When the document is opened, the vulnerability spreads, making it a nastier technique. The latest versions of the malicious documents have been installing the Dridex banking Trojan, which can steal your banking credentials and other sensitive data.

Today is Patch Tuesday (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patch_Tuesday), and an update is expected from Microsoft to fix this vulnerability in Office, but until then, and AS ALWAYS:

  • Do NOT open any attachments that you are not expecting, EVER!
  • Do NOT “Enable macros” or “Enable content” in any documents, unless you have verified that the email/attachment is legitimate by contacting the email sender directly via phone. (Do not reply to the email to verify.)
  • Enable “Protected View” in Microsoft Office: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/What-is-Protected-View-d6f09ac7-e6b9-4495-8e43-2bbcdbcb6653
  • Make sure your antivirus program is updating daily, and scan any attachments you intend to open.
  • Enable automatic updates for your operating system and applications whenever possible.

In most cases, emails with suspicious attachments can be safely ignored and deleted. If you are uncertain about the legitimacy of an email, you can forward it to the Help Desk (help@oswego.edu) for additional guidance.

Windows 10 Being Piloted in Select Labs, Classrooms, and Offices

CTS is excited to announce the official arrival of Windows 10 to the campus.  By way of a pilot project, we have rolled out Windows 10 to specific labs and advanced technology classroom computers as well as to some faculty and staff machines to be tested for compatibility with campus technical services.  This was done over spring break.  

Windows 10 is a project that CTS has been working on since Fall of 2015.  An official committee was formed that included faculty as well as technical staff from our server, networking, help desk, and desktop support teams.  Through their efforts, test machines were configured, tested for application compatibility, and updates made.  A configuration of Windows 10 was created that is not only compatible with technical services but ensures a smooth user experience transitioning from Windows 7 to 10.  In fact, Gartner research (Kleynhans, 2015a) has indicated that the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 should not be disruptive for users (p. 2).  Windows 10 retains the start menu like Windows 7 and expands it to include tiles that can be used for easy access to frequently used applications.

In terms of applications that are compatible with Windows 10, Gartner research (Kleynhans, 2015b) mentioned that application compatibility should be fairly straightforward as it has “the best backward compatibility of any Windows release” (p. 3).  Therefore, an application that was compatible with Windows 7 should be compatible with Windows 10.  CTS has tested over 100 applications and has not found any issues.   

The pilot positions us well for some upcoming changes in the technology industry.  Microsoft announced that it will end support for Windows 7 in January of 2020.  In addition, computer manufacturers are including the newest processors in their systems that only support the Windows 10 operating system with no options to downgrade.  Eventually, Windows 10 will be the only operating system option on new machines.

In addition to the pilot labs and advanced technology classrooms listed below, some Penfield Library, CELT, Facilities, and CTS staff will be testing it in their offices.

  • Hart Hall Lab
  • Laker 115A
  • Lanigan 37C
  • Lanigan 104
  • Lanigan 105
  • Mahar 116
  • Mahar 302
  • Rich 322
  • Park 208
  • Penfield Library Instruction room 2 (Classroom 2)
  • Penfield Library Lab (North Wall only)
  • Shineman 285

Presuming the pilot goes well, the Windows 10 project committee will discuss plans for officially releasing Windows 10 to the campus.  Details of lab and classroom computers that will be upgraded over the summer will be discussed.  In addition, a process for upgrading department faculty and staff computers will be developed.  New employee machines will most likely have Windows 10 installed by default starting this summer.

If you have any thoughts or feedback based on your use of Windows 10 in any of the pilot locations above, please let us know by filling out our survey.  You can contact the Help Desk at help@oswego.edu or call us at 315.312.3456.

For more information including some Windows 10 training and tips and tricks, please visit the CTS Windows 10 website.

 

References

Kleynhans, S. (2015a). Ten Things You Need to Know About Windows 10 for a Successful PC Deployment [PDF Document]. Gartner Research. Retrieved from https://www.gartner.com/document/3100224?ref=solrAll&refval=181932089&qid=175c79a26bb5b514cf1fe0b8da54b364

 
Kleynhans, S. (2015b). Deciding When to Migrate to Windows 10 [PDF Document]. Gartner Research. Retrieved from https://www.gartner.com/document/3152018?ref=solrAll&refval=181931802&qid=051e4d996d7e7b568704d902d9c1a69c

Qualtrics Survey Software Now Available For Campus Use

Qualtrics is software that lets you create surveys for research, customer service, employee insights, etc.  Qualtrics is accessed from the Web so there is no actual software to install on your device.  With a web browser, you can access your surveys and data from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

Qualtrics is available to all faculty, staff, and students.  Some faculty are already using it for research studies being conducted with their students.

To get started, login with your Laker NetID to http://oswego.qualtrics.com.  You will then be able to start creating survey projects, collaborate with others, analyze data, and create reports.

More information is available from the Qualtrics web site.

Microsoft Office 2016 Available for Installation

Microsoft Office 2016 replaces both Microsoft Office 2013 for Windows and Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac OS. Faculty and staff who would like to upgrade to Microsoft Office 2016 on their SUNY-owned computer may do so provided system requirements are met.

Office 2016 for Windows
Please note Office 2016 is the standalone version of Office. The standalone version is an enterprise version that is a one-time install. It differs from the subscription based Office 365 available for home use.

There are not a lot of interface changes from Office 2013 to Office 2016. The main changes seem to be in the area of collaboration. If you use Microsoft’s OneDrive storage, you may now share and edit files in real-time with others. Computerworld’s “Review: In Office 2016 for Windows, collaboration takes center stage” provides more specific information.

Office applications available for the PC include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, Publisher, and OneNote.

Office 2016 for Mac
The biggest change in Office 2016 from 2011 is the replacement of the menus with Microsoft’s ribbon interface. This now makes the versions for both Windows and Mac OS consistent. In addition, integration with OneDrive is available for storage.

Computerworld’s “Review: Office 2016 for Mac offers a new interface and better features” gives a nice summary of the changes and added features.

Office applications available for the Mac include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

How do I upgrade?
If you are interested in upgrading, please follow these steps:

Verify that your system meets the requirements:

– For Windows: please check the “Office Standard 2016 and Office Professional Plus 2016” section of Microsoft’s system requirements.

– For Mac: please check the “Office Home & Student 2016 for Mac and Office Home & Business 2016 for Mac” portion of Microsoft’s system requirements. Please note: Mac OS 10.10 (Yosemite) is required.

For PC Users:

– Please follow the instructions in our “How to: Install Office 2016 on SUNY-owned PCs” article. It will walk you through how to easily uninstall any existing versions of MS Office and then install Office 2016.

For Mac Users:

– Please note that Office 2016 is independent of any other Office versions you may already have installed. Therefore, you do not need to uninstall any previous versions.

– Download the Office 2016 installer from Microsoft’s website.

– Install the application. This will put it into a trial version.

Call the Help Desk, 315.312.3456, to serialize the install. This will take Office 2016 out of trial mode into a fully licensed install.

If you have any questions or need assistance at any point in the installs, please call (315.312.3456) or email the Help Desk.

Please note Office 2016 was updated in all of the computer labs and classroom computers for the fall 2015 semester.

Training
For those wishing to formally learn more about using Office 2016, Microsoft has trainings for various programs at their online Office Training Center. In addition, “Office 2016 for Educators” is a course available on the campus lynda.com subscription.

Home Use
Office 365 is available for use on up to (5) of your personal devices at no charge. Please see our related article, “Get Office 365 for Free,” on how to get started.

Updates Over Winter Break Increase Network Capacity

A responsive, reliable and scalable digital network is a core requirement for the campus to reach our strategic goals. To deliver the five impacts the campus is focusing on require ensuring that faculty, staff, and students have access to the technical resources required to thrive. The series of network improvements CTS did over the holidays improves all three of these attributes and positions the campus for the next cycle of technology.

Sean Moriarty, Oswego State’s Chief Technology Officer said “I think the impact of the improvements will be noticeable to almost everyone on campus. Faculty in the classroom should see improved access to the Internet when they are using interactive mobile technologies or calibrated peer reviews. Staff working throughout the day should notice technologies they access from off campus are more responsive and students in residence should notice less congestion in the evening hours when they are studying or relaxing. We have not finished upgrading the network, as there are firewall changes still scheduled for March break, but we are in a better position than we were before the break.”

The illustration below encapsulates the changes that were completed. Network capacities were upgraded at building, core, and Internet aggregation points.

Winter 2017 Network Upgrades

 

Building Infrastructure Upgrades

Network traffic that leaves a campus building must travel to the campus core network to be routed correctly.  The network capacity in which to do this for each building is 1Gbps.  Over break, Rich, Shineman, Penfield, Lanigan, Tyler, Seneca, and Waterbury were each upgraded to a capacity of 10Gbps.

 

Core Network Upgrades

Since building capacity to the core was increased, network capacity within the core network also needed to be increased.  Our core network consists of three main aggregation points at three different locations on campus.  Traffic was traveling between those locations at 10Gbps.  They are now traveling at 80Gbps.

 

Internet Upgrades

In addition, the network capacity for traffic leaving the campus has been increased.  The network capacity to the Internet was upgraded from 2.7Gbps to 3.0Gbps.
Work will continue through the semester to upgrade the remaining academic buildings.  This will complete Phase 1.  Phase 2 will move to upgrading network equipment that directly connects end-user wired devices to the network.  This will start during summer 2017.   

Vawtrak Trojan Detected on Several SUNY Campuses

Some malware has been detected at several SUNY campuses that install a banking Trojan.  This kind of malware can steal your banking account credentials and gain unauthorized access to your financial accounts.

To keep yourself protected:

  • DO NOT open any attachments or click any links inside emails that you are not expecting, even if the email appears to come from someone you know.
  • DO NOT “Enable Editing”, “Enable Macros”, or “Enable Content” in any documents, unless you have verified that the email/attachment is legitimate by contacting the email sender directly via phone.  (Do not reply to the email to verify.)
  • Make sure your antivirus program is updating daily.

In most cases, suspicious emails can be safely ignored and deleted.  If you are uncertain about the legitimacy of an email, please forward it to the CTS Help Desk (help@oswego.edu).

Easy Access to Specialized Software With Citrix

Currently, many faculty use specialized software for their courses.  For example, Chemistry uses a program called Chemdraw.  Math uses SAS, Minitab, and Maple. SPSS is used pervasively across multiple disciplines.  Right now, this software is only accessible from certain computer labs.

Online students who are taking courses that require specialized software do not have an option of physically visiting campus to use the software.  Therefore, in many cases, they end up purchasing it on their personal computer, adding to the cost of their education.  

What if this software could be available to all faculty, staff, and students

  • without having to physically visit a computer lab,
  • without having to pay for it,  AND
  • it could be used easily primarily with using just a web browser at any time of the day from anywhere in the world on any type of device?

Well…we can.  It can be done with a technology called virtual applications.  The application is stored on a Citrix server.  A user from a PC, a Mac, a Chromebook, or even an iPad can use the Internet to run the application that they need.  

We like to compare it to how Netflix works.  When you access a show or movie on Netflix, it isn’t actually on your device.  It’s on a Netflix server and the content is being streamed to your device.  Virtual applications work the same way.  The software is not actually on your device, it is being streamed by the server.  
To get started using our Citrix virtualized applications including SPSS, SAS, Minitab, Maple, etc., you merely need a web browser, preferably Google Chrome.  Point it to https://citrixapps.oswego.edu, login with your Laker NetID and get started.  For detailed instructions, please visit our “How to Use Virtual Applications with Citrix” article.