National Cybersecurity Awareness Month wraps up

Protect IT! Final tips for keeping your data safe

It’s essential to take proactive measures to enhance cybersecurity at home, on campus, at work, and when you’re out and about. In previous weeks, we addressed how to best own and secure your personal information. Now, we need to safeguard all of that invaluable data.

 

If You Connect, You Must Protect

Turn on automatic updates, if you can, and protect your devices with antivirus software.

Stay Protected While Connected

Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot – like at an airport, hotel, coffee shop or café – confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff. Avoid sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords or credit cards.  If you just can’t avoid it, try to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection, whether it’s provided by your employer or one you pay monthly for yourself.

If You Collect It, Protect It

If you’re involved in collecting data for or about people, it’s important that you treat it with care. It is vital that organizations of all sizes take measures to keep customer/consumer data and information safe.

 

Thanks for reading!  As always, if you ever have a question about any computer or device, please call the Helpdesk at x1047, or email at helpdesk@widener.edu.  If you get a phishing or questionable email, please forward it to phish@widener.edu.

Stay secure during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Secure IT! New info for a secure October

It‘s true: bad guys are getting better at stealing personal information from unsuspecting victims. But all is not lost; taking a few proactive steps can help to improve your account and device security. Here are the key messages to “Secure IT.”

 

Shake Up Your Passphrase Protocol

Passphrases can be inconvenient, but they’re important if you want to keep your information safe. Here are some simple ways to secure your accounts through better passphrase practices.

  • Make your passphrase a sentence: A strong passphrase is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “I love country music.”). On many sites, you can even use spaces!
  • Unique account, unique passphrase: Having separate passphrases for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passphrases.
  • Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a passphrase. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer. You can alternatively use a service like a passphrase manager to keep track of your passphrase.

Double Your Login Protection

Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in. If MFA is an option, enable it by using a trusted mobile device, such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token—a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring.  Who’s offering multi-factor?  Check out a list of services here. (link)

Shop Safe Online

  • Conduct research: When using a new website for purchases, read reviews and see if other consumers have had a positive or negative experience with the site.
  • When in doubt, throw it out: Links in emails, posts and texts are often how cybercriminals try to steal your information or infect your devices.
  • Personal information is like money: value it and protect it: When making a purchase online, be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure you think it is necessary for the vendor to request that information. Remember, you only need to fill out required fields at checkout.
  • Use safe payment options: Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered.
  • Protect your $$: When shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https:// indicating extra measures to help secure your information.

Always Play Hard To Get With Strangers

A malicious email can look just like it comes from a financial institution, an e-commerce site, a government agency – or even Widener University. It often urges you to act quickly, “because your account has been compromised,” “your order cannot be fulfilled” or there is another urgent matter to address. If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it with these steps:

  • Contact the company directly – using information provided on an account statement, on the company’s official website or on the back of a credit card.
  • Search for the company online – but not with information provided in the email.
  • Pay attention to the website’s URL – Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com versus .net).
  • Read Between the Lines – Is the message to you, or to “valued customer?”  Are you the only one in the “TO:” line?  These are common red flags for phishing emails.

As always, if you ever have a question about any computer or device, please call the Helpdesk at x1047, or email at helpdesk@widener.edu.  If you get a phishing or questionable email, please forward it to phish@widener.edu.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Continues

More tips for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Own IT!

Internet-based devices are everywhere in our lives: at home, school, work and on the go. An “always-on” network gives us ways to create, connect, and share, but also presents opportunities for cybersecurity threats that can compromise our most sensitive personal information.

This week we look at some of the ways to help keep us and our information safe. Here are the key messages to “Own IT.”

Never Click and Tell: staying safe on social media

Share With Care – remember that what you post – if you let it – goes to the whole world.

  • What you post can last a lifetime: Before posting online, think about what others might learn about you and who might see it in the future – teachers, parents, colleges and potential employers. Share the best of yourself online.
  • Be aware of what’s being shared: Be aware that when you post a picture or video online, you may also be sharing information about others or personal details about yourself like where you live, go to school or hang out.
  • Post only about others as you would like to have them post about you: The golden rule applies online as well. Ask permission before you tag a friend in a photo.
  • Own your online presence: It’s OK to limit who can see your information and what you share. Learn about and use privacy and security settings on your favorite online games, apps and platforms.

Keep Tabs on Your Apps: best practices for apps on your devices

  • Always lock your phone! If your phone gets lost or stolen, the first line of defense is a good lock.  Whether that’s a few numbers, a swipe pattern, or your fingerprint, always put something between your data and someone trying to get to it – and set it to auto-lock when you put it down.
  • Think twice if an app wants permission to use personal information (like your location) it doesn’t need before you say “OK.”
  • Pay attention to how much access the app wants – does it want access to your camera?  To your contacts list?  To your file system?  If so, why?  Does a game really need your camera or access to the people you know?  Make sure the app has a good reason for asking.
  • Always use approved app stores for your apps.  It’s not perfect, but apps from Apple and Google get checked for scams, viruses, malware far more  than anywhere else.

Update Privacy Settings on your phone and on social

Mobile devices – including smartphones, laptops and wearables – are always within reach everywhere we go, and they share a lot of information about us and our habits.  Check this link out to learn how to update your privacy settings on your phone and on the most popular online services to keep better control of your info: Managing Your Privacy

Our devices are a part of our lives, and it’s up to us to use them safely.  If you ever have a question about any computer or device, please call the Helpdesk at x1047, or email at helpdesk@widener.edu.  If you get a phishing or questionable email, please forward it to phish@widener.edu.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Begins

It’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month again!

Every year, the National Cyber Security Alliance designates the month of October to remind us: STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™  With phishing threats and online scams already in full swing, it’s more important than ever to stay alert and show #cyberpride.  This year, there are three main messages for the month:

  • Own IT.

    • Never Click and Tell: staying safe on social media
    • Update Privacy Settings on your phone and on social
    • Keep Tabs on Your Apps: best practices for apps on your devices
  • Secure IT.

    • Shake Up Your Passphrase Protocol: create strong, unique passphrases
    • Double Your Login Protection: turn on multi-factor authentication
    • Shop Safe Online: making sure your purchases are secure
    • Play Hard To Get With Strangers: how to spot and avoid phish
  • Protect IT.

    • If You Connect, You Must Protect: updating to the latest security software, web browser and operating systems
    • Stay Protected While Connected: Wi-Fi safety
    • If You Collect It, Protect It: keeping personal information safe

 

In the upcoming weeks, we’ll explore each of these these further.  The bad guys are always changing their tactics, and trying every way they can – phishing emails, ads on websites, even texts on our smartphones – to trick us.  Keeping up a layered defense is our best approach.

If you ever have a question about an email, please forward it to phish@widener.edu. You can also call the Helpdesk at x1047, or email at helpdesk@widener.edu. And be sure to follow us on Twitter at @WidenerISO. Happy October, and safe computing!

 

macOS Catalina Released

Hold off on upgrading – Apple’s latest macOS raises concerns.

Apple’s latest release, macOS Catalina (10.15), has what Apple admits are “major issues” and we have a variety of concerns. As with most OS releases, we strongly recommend that you wait and not upgrade your University-owned Mac. Information Technology Services cannot yet support Catalina on University-owned Macs until several issues have been resolved, followed by further testing. (As a general rule, waiting until the first set of OS updates are released allows Apple to fix initial stability problems and bugs before the OS even makes it to your machine.)

While there are some interesting new features in this OS, like SideCar, Catalyst, increased security, and Apple Arcade, there are a number of things that either just won’t work or will present problems.  Here are the big ones we know so far:

Music Apps and the Death of iTunes

In macOS Catalina, Apple has done away with the iTunes app, splitting its features into three separate apps: Music, Podcasts, and TV (coming later this fall). If you do any kind of audio mixing or heavy music work using iTunes and third-party software, you will likely run into problems. The underlying XML database and associated XML file no longer exist to index a local music collection. This has “broken” a number of music tools, such as Traktor and Rekordbox.

Other Affected Software and Services

It’s not just music applications that are having issues.  A number of creative tools—including Apple Aperture, Microsoft Office 2011 and Adobe CS6—are experiencing issues. Network printing, along with local printing, may also stop working in the new environment.

VLab (Citrix) may not work in the new Catalina OS. Students could experience issues accessing VLab if they upgrade their personal laptops.

ExamSoft’s Examplify requires a specific update. ExamSoft support reported that “Examplify 2.0.6 is being released via silent and prompted update. Please note that the automatic update will not work for any exam takers who have already upgraded to macOS Catalina. These users will need to download the new version and manually install it.” If you already updated to macOS Catalina (10.15) and are experiencing issues, please verify you are using Examplify version 2.0.6.

SPSS Statistics will be affected by several changes in the new OS, some of which could cause it to stop working completely. Version 23 (and all versions prior) will not run at all. Increased data protection will block all versions of SPSS from accessing the following data sources: Documents, Downloads, Desktop, and any connected external disks (this includes USB drives). Mandatory notarized applications and the end of support for 32-bit applications (like the SPSS License Authorization Wizard) are other factors that need to be addressed.

Apple’s own ‘Reminders’ app can behave strangely if you have multiple devices. If you want reminders synced across your devices, they all need to be running the latest versions of their respective operating systems—for some reason there’s no mix and match of platforms. And it’s not just syncing that’s the issue, user data is being lost as well.

It’s a 64-bit Only World

Catalina also drops support for 32-bit applications. They just won’t run on this version of macOS. Most people can’t tell which apps are 32-bit and which are 64-bit. Even some 64-bit software may not be compatible with Catalina.

We recommend that you take note of any mission-critical software so you will have a list ready when the time comes to upgrade. Prior to upgrading in the future, if you are unsure your software will run in Catalina, you can submit a quick ticket with your software details so we can give you compatibility feedback.

Undoing a Hasty macOS Upgrade

There’s no easy way to undo the upgrade or simply roll it back. Reverting from Catalina to a previous version of macOS is an inconvenient process.  At best this would require we take your computer, erase your hard drive, reimage it, reinstall software, and restore your data and/or reconnect your OneDrive. Alternatively, it could require restoring your computer to its original factory settings. Of course, this means you won’t be able to use your computer while this is being done.

Once we are confident that Catalina will work well in our environment, ITS staff will be happy to assist with a safe and coherent upgrade process for our faculty and staff.

Welcome from Information Security

Welcome (and welcome back) to Widener!

It’s a new academic year, and internet threats are ready and waiting as usual. Students, faculty, and staff are all busy preparing for a great year of learning, but the bad guys are trying to sneak past our guard. Here are some of the old classic threats that are still in use:

  • Impersonation emails that look like they’re from someone on campus (“Are you available?” gift card scams)
  • Random offers of on- or off-campus jobs (especially involving exchanges of gift cards or money orders)
  • PDF files that are nothing but a link, or try to get you to “log in”
  • Office365 document shares that don’t look like Widener emails
  • Warnings or threats about your Widener email account being closed or locked out, or that it “needs to be verified”
  • Voicemails or faxes that are supposedly waiting on you
  • Screen pop-ups that try to get you to click something (even legit ads are dangerous)

Please remember to be very careful with email links, especially from addresses you don’t know. The bad guys can also paste a real name onto a fake email, so take care when using your phone – phones often don’t show the email address. And they love to hit you during your commute.

When an email asks you to click a link, it’s best if you initiate the reply using a fresh start. Contact the person or department the way you’re familiar with, or check on my.widener.edu for the correct campus link.

Any phishing, scam, questionable, or just plain weird emails should be sent to phish@widener.edu. We’ll gladly check whether it’s real or a scam.

Follow our blog here at itsnews.widener.edu – we post on all types of ITS issues. Follow on Twitter at @WidenerISO for security news and current issues. If you ever have a question about email, passwords, viruses, or computer security in general, feel free to call the Information Security Office at ext. 1044, or open a ticket at the HelpDesk (quickticket.widener.edu).

Thanks, and have a great year!

Welcome Students!

Over the summer, the ITS department (computer people) were busy updating technologies that will help you succeed. Visit and bookmark our blog itsnews.widener.edu, as new valuable information is frequently posted. Check out the latest below!

Five web links to help start your semester!

Wireless access

Email access

Getting started with Office 365

 FREE Office 2016 download

FREE access to LinkedIn Learning

Contact us with any questions or issues.

Submit a ticket! Go to QuickTicket.widener.edu

Call us!   (610) 499-1047

Visit the Student Technical Support Center (STSC)
Located on the Main Level of Wolfgram Library

Wired & Wireless – Device Registration

Get connected to Widener’s network. For security reasons, Widener University has implemented a solution to protect your electronic devices from other devices that might not be secure. Every device you connect to the Wireless Network or Residence Hall Wired Network must be registered for compliance purposes.

Steps to register your device
  • Connect to the wireless SSID “wudorm” or “widener”, if you choose to connect via Ethernet cable you will need to put in a port request. (http://portrequest.widener.edu)
  • Open your internet browser and try to go to a website such as yahoo.com.
  • Follow the on screen instructions to register your device.
Device Registration Requirement Information:
  • All Microsoft Windows based Desktops and Laptops (Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10) are required to have up to date operating system patches (Windows Updates) and an up to date Anti-Virus program (free or subscription) not provided from the University. A persistent agent is required to be downloaded and installed in order to stay in compliance on the network. It will prompt you for your Widener Login Username and password, then it will scan for your operating system patches and verify an up to date Anti-Virus.
  • Phones & Apple Products (MacBook, iMac, iPad, iPhone), Non-Windows Tablets, eReaders will only require your Widener Login username and password to register on the network.
  • Most Gaming Devices (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo products), Smart TV’s, and Streaming Devices (Apple TV, Amazon Firestick/TV, Echo, Roku) will be automatically registered on the network. Please connect them via ethernet cable or on the wireless SSID “WUDorm” and they will take up to 15 minutes to move from the registration network to the production network. If you still have issues connecting after patiently waiting, please reboot your device and see if it properly connects. If it still does not connect, please locate your MAC address for your device and open a support ticket by contacting the ITS HelpDesk at 610-499-1047 OR Submit a support ticket at http://QUICKticket.widener.edu

 *PLEASE NOTE: Wireless printing in the residence halls is allowed, but we recommend securing them with a passcode to print (see your printer manufacturers’ instructions to setup). Otherwise; connect your printer via usb cable. CHROMECAST is designed to work in a home environment and given the size and complexity of our network, it will NOT work on Widener’s Network. WE DO NOT ALLOW PERSONAL WIRELESS ROUTERS ON WIDENER’S NETWORK. Not all  SMART PLUGS AND LIGHTS are designed for enterprise network environments; therefore they may not work properly on our network. But we will work with you to get these devices securely on the network if possible.

Reporting Wireless Issues of registered devices:

We are always looking to improve our wireless network and with your help, we can make it better. In order to fix the issue, we need to know about it. Now you can quickly report the issue to us.

By going to My.Widener.edu and searching WiFi, you will find the link to FixMyWiFi.widener.edu where you can submit a ticket reporting the issue directly to the group that manages this environment. We want to make your wireless experience an enjoyable one, not a stressful one.

*For additional assistance, please visit the Student Technology Support Center. The Student Technology Support Center (STSC) is a walk-in support center where students can go for assistance with their computers and hand-held devices. The STSC is now located on the main floor of the Wolfgram Memorial Library on the Chester Campus. You may also visit the ITS HelpDesk located on the 2nd floor of Academic Center North (ACN) Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm excluding holidays.

myCanvas Dashboard Favorites

You can now connect Canvas with myWidener !
Once your favorite courses are in Canvas, you can now have those classes appear in your myWidener Portal Dashboard.

Here’s How :

1. Access https://my.widener.edu now and upon login you will be prompted to “Authorize the Canvas Connector

2. Checkmark Do not show again* and Click Authorize.

3. You will then be directed to a Canvas User Approval Screen:

Verify the connection to the appropriate matched Canvas user found and click Authorize.

4. Locate the myCanvas Dashboard Favorites:
(Wait 5 mins) Then the next time you log into the myWidener Portal, your favorite (starred) Canvas courses should appear at the bottom of the myWidener Portal Dashboard.

Access DeAuthorization at any time under myWidener preferences.

Advanced Extra:
After completing the above steps, you can reorder your personal myWidener Main Dashboard Layout. To place “myCanvas Dashboard Favorites” to the top of your view, click the top left list-icon ( just under the logo) to reorder the dashboard sections and click [Save].

Getting Started :
Did you know, in the Canvas (learning management system) when you are enrolled in more than one Canvas course, you can customize the active courses you want to show in your Course list?

By clicking the star to the left any course in the Card View Dashboard this features your selected classes both on the Canvas Dashboard and makes them available to bind to and feature in the myWidener Portal.

 

Supporting Note :

There is no impact / penalty for Authorizing the Connector service even if you do not yet first have any Canvas courses favorited within the LMS; you will just see this display until you do.

Video Captioning Service- Now Available!

Our goal is a simple yet important one: Make instructional video content more accessible. A collaboration of TLT, Library, and Disability Services is working on this process for proposal submission, review, and selection. Limited funding for video captioning and transcription services has been granted for the upcoming academic year, so get your proposals ready!

Things you need to know:
  • The proposals are semester based. To be considered for 19/Fall courses, you will need to submit a proposal by August 8, 2019. Mid-semester proposal will be considered if funding permits.
  • Based on funding limitations, we cannot guarantee all proposals will be accepted. Priorities will be based on the content frequency (required over several semesters or across multiple courses), the number of students in the course(s), the quality of the audio/video (compliance with best practices of instructional video), etc. For more details, please see the scoring rubric.
  • Two-step review: Once proposals are accepted to move on to the next steps, faculty members will be provided a Cielo24 account along with steps and a checklist for pre-upload review. At that point, faculty will be able to upload their proposed video to the platform for final review (The video uploads will be in a queue for our authorization, on the Cielo24 platform).
Additional Considerations:
  • Our team will also provide support for faculty to better apply instructional videos in their teaching. For example,
    • TLT office will provide consultation on video editing and best video practices and tools.
    • Wolfgram Memorial Library will provide information about copyright, fair use, and existing alternate content that may be more recent or otherwise helpful, etc.

 

Here is the first step – submit your proposal through this link.

 

Also, please visit the Instructional Media and Video course on Canvas for more information on best practices, multimedia tools, and copyright and fair use practices.