Welcome to Cybersecurity Awareness Month October 2021!

In our uber-connected world, it seems like cybercriminals and malicious links creep around every corner. News stories of ransomware attacks and data breaches costing millions of dollars fly past our feeds almost constantly. We get it; it can be overwhelming. With so much information bombarding us, it can be hard to focus on the right actions to take to keep information secure. That’s why we’re recognizing Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October by sharing tips to stay cyber secure, both at work and at home. To turn away cyber attacks, a little knowledge teamed with critical thinking skills can go a long way!

Stay tuned to our blog site this month as we will be sharing weekly information provided by our InfoSec training service partner KnowBe4. The list below is what will be shared over the month of October.

    • Free Interactive Course: Social Engineering Red Flags
    • Free Interactive Course: Your Role: Internet Security and You
    • Expert-led videos on pretexting and password management
      infographics on avoiding social engineering and cybercrime
    • Cybersecurity awareness tip sheets

Microsoft Defender for Office 365

Microsoft Defender for Office 365

Widener LIS will be enabling Microsoft Defender for Office 365 on June 1st for Widener email (Outlook). All links that are found in an email are scanned by Office 365 protection services to check for security threats.

If an link is found to be unsafe, the user will be alerted with an interface describing the issue. If encountered, please close the web page immediately and continue on with your day knowing you were protected. If you feel like this website has been categorized by mistake, please open a quickticket and we will investigate. Using the “continue anyway” link is never recommended without the explicit direction of a member of the ITS Information Security Team.
click on image for a larger view

Safe Links

When a message contains a clickable image or text, the original address of the link will be replaced with a “safe link”. Safe links always contain the domain name “safelinks.protection.outlook.com/”.click on image for a larger viewSafe links will show you the original URL when you hover over the link. Emails shown in plain text mode will show the full “safe link”.click on image for a larger view

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If you have any questions, please open a quickticket.widener.edu or call the HelpDesk at 610-499-1047 for further assistance.

Finding IT Services Just Got Easier!

Announcing the new ITS Service Catalog

Widener University Office of Information Technology Services is pleased to announce our first iteration of our Service Catalog. It serves as a new way to access and request information regarding ITS services.

How to Access the Service Catalog?

You can access the Service Catalog by searching on the myWidener portal or using the direct link to the Service Catalog at http://sites.widener.edu/service-catalog/.

What is a Service Catalog?

The Service Catalog provides an organized collection of services that are available to the Widener University community. The web-based Service Catalog offers one location to access information about ITS services, contacts, and resources. While this is currently not an extensive or all-inclusive list, we will continually add services to the catalog, as well as information about each service, such as: how to request a service and links to support information.

Why an IT Service Catalog?

You may be familiar with ITS services, but it can sometimes be difficult to know whom to contact for what. The Service Catalog was developed to:

      • Provide one central source of information in a standard format.
      • Enhance the understanding of what services ITS provides.
      • Improve customer service by integrating with Helpdesk and support activities.
      • Provide a regularly updated web presence for ITS services which are accurate, current, and contains timely information about new and changing services.

How does the Service Catalog Work?

The web-based Service Catalog is broken up by categories and then into services. It was designed as an easy way for customers to navigate the inventory of services.  Each service includes a brief description of what is provided and to whom. Each may also include links to additional information. There is a search function to quickly locate specific services.

How do I provide feedback?

To provide comments and suggestions on our services and the Service Catalog itself, please email itscs@widener.edu. We are especially interested in how we can make the Service Catalog more useful to you!



Announcing Hypothesis

We are excited to announce that Widener University now has a license with Hypothesis, a social annotation tool installed directly into Canvas. Adding Hypothesis to readings in Canvas supports student success by placing active discussion right on top of course readings, enabling students and teachers to add comments and start conversations in the margins of texts. This integration works seamlessly with Canvas modules, assignments, and the SpeedGrader!

If you would like to get started, below are some resources to implement Hypothesis in your Canvas courses:

Here are a few general Hypothesis resources, all of which could also be shared with students:

If you have any questions about our partnership with Hypothesis, please reach out!

MFA Enforcement Begins May 13th for All Employees

Starting Thursday May 13th, all employee accounts will have Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) enforced for Microsoft 365 logins which includes Outlook, Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive.  To make this day a non-issue for you, we are encouraging you to configure your account prior to this date.

Setup your mobile phone device.
Choose your preferred MFA setup instructions from the options listed below under . Call 610-499-1047, option #3 to assist you at any time.

Once completed, your next Microsoft 365 login will prompt you for the MFA action you chose during device setup.

Note: You will not be prompted for MFA while connected to Widener’s Internet or Wi-Fi Network.

Setup instructions for your Phone for MFA :
  Frequently Asked Questions- FAQs
  iPhone App Setup (recommended)
  Android App Setup (recommended)
  Text Verification Non-App Setup
(Can be used by Flip Phones, iPhones, or Android.)
  “Call Me” Non-App Setup (No Mobile Phone )

Anytime you are interested in testing MFA on your account, select one of the optional links below for instruction.
  Test using Safari
  Test using Chrome
  Test using Firefox

Note: You will not be prompted for MFA while connected to Widener’s Internet or Wi-Fi Network while testing.

Phish Alert Button (PAB) Release

We would like to introduce you to the new Phish Alert Button (PAB). Using the PAB helps us keep the university safe. The PAB is automatically deployed to your Outlook Desktop ribbon and Outlook Web App email reading pane command bar. Use this to report any suspected phishing emails. Please select the button whenever you receive a suspicious or potentially dangerous email. Upon selecting the PAB, the email will be deleted from your inbox and forwarded to ITS.

Detailed screenshots of the Phish Alert Button are available here: http://sites.widener.edu/service-catalog/pab/

Thank you for helping to keep our organization safe from cyber-crime.

Widener University
Office of Information Security

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If at any time you experience any issues with training, please submit a quickticket.widener.edu or call the HelpDesk for further assistance.

Stand Up to Cyberbullying

Today is International Stand Up to Bullying Day, a special semi-annual event in which participants wear and use pink to take a visible, public stance against bullying.

Stand up to bullying and show your support for your fellow members of the Pride, by using this pink Zoom background for your next class or meeting. The background has been added to Widener’s default Zoom backgrounds and available to select when choosing a virtual background. Don’t see it?  Sign out of Zoom and then sign back in with the SSO option.

Cyberbullying vs. bullying

Cyberbullying is the “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices” (from cyberbullying.org).  These elements include the following:

        • Willful: The behavior has to be deliberate.
        • Repeated: Bullying reflects a pattern of behavior, not just one isolated incident.
        • Harm: The target must perceive that harm was inflicted.
        • Computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices: This, of course, is what differentiates cyberbullying from traditional bullying
Anonymity, Distance, and Scope

While often similar in terms of form and technique, the three main differences can make cyberbullying even more devastating: anonymity, distance, and scope.

Because they don’t need to physically confront their victim, the aggressor can hide behind an anonymous username and their target might never know the source of their torment. This anonymity can also embolden those who would never dream of bullying someone in real life.  While acting from a physically distant location, the aggressor doesn’t have to see the immediate effects of their actions. Anonymity and distance allow cyberbullies to be crueler than they ever would be in person.

The scope of cyberbullying and the ability for those hurtful actions to go viral means that a large number of people can participate in the victimization. Technology’s global reach provides a limitless pool of potential targets, aggressors, and witnesses/bystanders.  Victims cannot escape the eyes of their virtual audience, which amplifies their feelings of helplessness and despair.

Why Pink?

The color pink is used in connection with the original campaign started by Travis Price and David Shepherd, two students who took a stand for a fellow student who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.

“David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied [for wearing a pink shirt]…[They] took a stand against bullying when they protested against the harassment of a new Grade 9 student by distributing pink T-shirts to all the boys in their school. ‘I learned that two people can come up with an idea, run with it, and it can do wonders,’ says Mr. Price, 17, who organized the pink protest. ‘Finally, someone stood up for a weaker kid.’ So Mr. Shepherd and some other headed off to a discount store and bought 50 pink tank tops. They sent out message to schoolmates that night, and the next morning they hauled the shirts to school in a plastic bag. As they stood in the foyer handing out the shirts, the bullied boy walked in. His face spoke volumes. ‘It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders,’ Mr. Price recalled. The bullies were never heard from again.”

— Globe & Mail

We’re all Widener

At Widener, the safety & well-being of our community is a top priority. If you have experienced or witnessed bullying, or other forms of discrimination or harassment, there are resources here to help:

Report It
Campus Safety
Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)
Student Success & Support


Cybersecurity Awareness

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.


Study the NCSAM Guide for additional info on this and more cybersecurity concepts.

Who is Cortana and Why Am I Receiving “Your Daily Briefing” Emails?

Summary: Office 365 users recently began receiving daily Cortana emails. In this article we will explain what these email are, what Cortana can do, and how you can disable it if you choose to.

Who is Cortana?

Cortana is Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence (AI), promoting it as a personal productivity assistant to help you save time and focus on what matters most. Cortana powers their entire secure cloud, which includes Office 365. Cortana is voice activated.

Why is Cortana Emailing Me?

Your Daily Briefing email is sent to help you stay in control of your calendar and be more intentional with your day. Cortana learns when you get to work and will send the email based upon what it predicts is the start of your work day.

What can Cortana do for me?

Cortana can be found by clicking start and typing “Cortana”, it will ask you to login using your email account. Some of the things that Cortana can do for you:

      • Join a meeting in Microsoft Teams or find out who your next meeting is with
      • Manage your calendar and keep your schedule up to date
      • Create and Manage Lists
      • Set reminders and alarms
      • Open apps on your computer

Not receiving Cortana Emails?

Cortana is data driven, the more data it has the better to predict your needs. If you are not receiving the Daily Briefing emails, not to worry, Cortana just doesn’t have enough data to send them. You may also not be subscribed.

How can I unsubscribe, subscribe or find out if my Cortana is active?

If you do not want to receive Cortana emails, look in the footer of the Daily Briefing email, there you will find an “unsubscribe” button.

To verify if your Cortana is active or to change your subscription. While logged into your Office 365 account, you can go to https://cortana.office.com and change your subscription at any time. 

If you would like to learn more about what Cortana can do for you, please visit the Cortana LinkedIn Learning playlist. You can also search in LinkedIn Learning to find more in-depth tutorials.

macOS Big Sur Announcement

Big Sur Horizon image
macOS Big Sur releases on November 12, 2020

Apple announced they will release macOS Big Sur (11.0.1) today.  As with most new OS releases, we strongly recommend that you wait and not upgrade your University-owned Mac.  Information Technology Services cannot yet support Big Sur on University-owned Macs until it has been sufficiently tested.  Additionally, waiting until the first set of OS updates are released (ex. 11.0.2 or 11.0.3) allows Apple to fix initial stability problems and bugs before the OS even makes it to your machine.  This is a good general rule, even for personal devices.

Why not macOS 10.16?

Big Sur is such a significant OS update, that Apple has moved its versioning number from 10 to 11.  This is the first major versioning number change in almost twenty years!  The big deal is in the hardware changes coming and the new architecture needed to support it.

Apple Silicon chip image
* Apple Silicon doesn’t refer to a specific chipset or processor, but to the company’s custom silicon as a whole.
** ARM is a type of processor that has been powering portable devices for decades. It is the dominant architecture for mobile, with iPads and iPhones using it exclusively.

Big Sur was built for the M1 processor, the first in a new series of Apple Silicon* chips that begin their migration away from Intel processors.  Apple has planned to support their Intel Macs for the next few years, but they have made it clear that custom ARM** processors are their future by paving the way with macOS Big Sur.  Big Sur is optimized for this new system architecture, visibly shrinking the gap between iOS and macOS with its iOS-like icons, widgets, menu bar, and control center.

These are big changes, amplifying our concerns about upgrading before the first round of updates are released and we have had an opportunity to conduct testing and research.  The key areas usually affected during an OS upgrade are software, peripherals, and services, which can behave unexpectedly or stop working altogether.  While many are still working from home and connecting to a wider array of devices (home printers, scanners, etc.), the possibility of experiencing those incompatibility issues increases.

Software Compatibility

Microsoft Office, Zoom, VPN, Adobe software, VLab (Citrix), and SPSS are just some of the applications that ITS needs to test with the new OS. If you have software that you installed on your Mac (not provided or installed by ITS), you should check for compatibility with Big Sur to see if it will still work after upgrading.

If you are a student using ExamSoft’s Examplify, be sure to check with your instructors before upgrading.

Drivers for the docks/port replicators you may have with your MacBook Pro will also need to be updated.  Second monitors, hardwired internet (Ethernet), and even the charging function may not work until the drivers for the dock are updated.

Network printing, local printers, and other peripherals may also be affected.  These may require updated drivers or software to work with Big Sur.

It’s a 64-bit Only World

The previous macOS, Catalina (10.15), dropped support for 32-bit applications. They just won’t run after that version of macOS. This means if you’re going from Mojave (or an older macOS) to Big Sur, you’ll experience this for the first time.  Mojave (10.14) is the last version of macOS that can run 32-bit apps. It isn’t easy to immediately see which apps are 32-bit and which are 64-bit; even some 64-bit software may not be compatible with the new OS.

But you may have already been alerted to your 32-bit applications and not even realized it!

Mojave and High Sierra alert: App is not optimized for your Mac and needs to be updated
Alerts in macOS Mojave and macOS High Sierra for 32-bit applications.

When you open a 32-bit app in macOS Mojave or macOS High Sierra, you receive an alert that the app is “not optimized” for your Mac and needs to be updated.  If you remember seeing this kind of message window when you opened a particular program, it’s a 32-bit application.

We recommend that you take note of any mission-critical software.  If you are unsure your software will run in the new OS because it might be 32-bit, you can check for 32-bit apps on your system.  This will give you some time to decide if you can update that software for Big Sur when the time comes, or if you need to find an alternative for that application.

Undoing a Hasty macOS Upgrade

There’s no easy way to undo the upgrade or simply roll it back. Reverting from Big Sur to a previous version of macOS is an inconvenient process.  At best, this would require taking your computer, erasing your hard drive, reimaging it, reinstall software, and restoring your data and/or reconnecting 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.  This can be especially cumbersome now with the pandemic and working remotely.

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