IT – News & Announcements

Important information on the Heartbleed vulnerability

Posted by ddh under Security

Michigan Tech IT has set up a web page describing the Heartbleed vulnerability and what you should do about it. The page can be found at: https://sites.google.com/a/mtu.edu/heartbleed—what-you-need-to-know/.

Here are some important points:

  • Don’t panic! If you haven’t used a site since Monday April 7th, your information at that site probably isn’t at risk.
  • If you have used a vulnerable site since April 7th, you should change your credentials on that site, but only after they have patched their system. The IT site listed above has the steps that you should take prior to changing your password so that you don’t put your account at further risk.
  • There are many phishing/spam messages being sent to users trying to leverage the media attention regarding Heartbleed to convince you to visit their site and enter your credentials. They will often appear to be your bank or other major online sites telling you that you need to update your account.

Questions? Please contact IT at it-help@mtu.edu or call (906) 487-1111.

Microsoft Ending Support for Windows XP

Posted by ddh under Computing on Campus, Security

As many have heard by now, Microsoft will be ending support for Windows XP on Tuesday, April 8th. On that day, Microsoft will release their last set of patches for the operating system. After that, any vulnerability that exists will exist forever. We expect to see attacks on vulnerabilities that Microsoft has not patched, or not known of, starting that afternoon putting machines running Windows XP at risk.

IT has been working with departments to migrate machines running Windows XP over to Windows 7, but there are still many machines on campus that have not been migrated. To mitigate the risks to the remaining Windows XP installations, IT will do the following on Monday, April 7th:

  • Turn on the Windows XP firewall on all Windows XP machines in the Universities various domains blocking all incoming connections but allowing the machine to be used as normal otherwise. This will not impede the user of the machine from browsing the web or any other activity, it will only affect other machines being able to initiate a connection to the Windows XP machine.
  • Put a firewall rule in place to allow remote desktop connections to the machines as long as the user is logged in to the VPN server (vpn.mtu.edu) and has chosen the “Get an MTU address” option. This includes remote desktop connections coming from other areas on campus which have been allowed without a VPN connection previously.
  • Anti-virus software has been installed on all domain machines and will continue to be updated to protect against known attack.

For our users, your machine should only be at minimal risk after these changes with the exception of your web browser of choice. We ask that users on Windows XP machines do not use Internet Explorer as it will remain vulnerable. Both Firefox and Chrome will continue to be updated to correct future vulnerabilities.

If we discover a Windows XP machine on the network that has been compromised and is attacking other machines, we will follow our normal procedure of temporarily taking the machine off from the network, but instead of cleaning it, it will be rebuilt with Windows 7. If you believe that your machine may be infected, please contact IT User Services as soon as possible.

If you have a University owned machine that is still running Windows XP, please contact User Services at it-help@mtu.edu or 7-1111 to schedule a time for your machine to be transitioned to Windows 7.

For home users still running Windows XP you can add similar protection to your machine to help extend its life, but the machine should be updated as soon as possible. You should do the following:

  • Make sure you have the Windows Firewall turned on from the control panel. Though important, many home routers will already offer you most of this protection, even if it’s turned off.
  • Avoid using a Windows XP laptop on a public wireless system unless you have turned on the firewall, as your home router will not be of assistance.
  • Make sure you are running an up-to-date anti-virus program. AVG is available for free to users at http://free.avg.com.
  • Upgrade your system to version Windows 7 or later as soon as you can.

We’ve launched a Google Site with more information on the end of Windows XP (https://sites.google.com/a/mtu.edu/itss-winxp-transition/). If you have any questions or concerns regarding the transition to Windows 7 or about an existing Windows XP installation, please contact User Services.

Adobe Connect Upgraded to Version 9.2

Posted by swilmers under Media Technology Services

Adobe Connect recently upgraded our service to version 9.2 on March 9, 2014. Part of this upgrade requires our users to re-install an updated version of the Adobe Connect Add-in, which you does not require administrative privileges. The Adobe Connect Add-in is a feature required for presentation sharing, offline recording, and the sharing of PPTX files.

Please contact it-help@mtu.edu or call (906) 487-1111 should you need further assistance with the installation of the latest version of the Adobe Connect Add-in.

NOTICE: Central Storage Maintenance and Potential Unavailability

Posted by Cayce Will under Computing on Campus, Services

WHAT is going on:

Please be advised that IT Infrastructure Services, to further investigate the storage performance issues of last December and to continue to improve current storage performance, will be scheduling two periods of storage maintenance.  The maintenance is not expected to cause any storage unavailability but if an unexpected outage does occur, we want you to have this forewarning in place and recommend you avoid the use of central storage during the period listed below.

WHEN it will happen:

The scheduled maintenance windows for central storage will be:

Friday, March 21, 2014 - 11:00pm to 4:00am

Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 11:00pm to 4:00am

Due to the nature of the support engaged to further improve our storage performance, we were unable to schedule this work during the recent break period.

WHY we are doing this:

The performance and stability of the new central storage system is still not up to the level of quality that was specified by IT when the system was arranged to be purchased.  We sincerely feel that you – the faculty, staff, and students – deserve the most affordable, stable, versatile, and highly-performing storage system available.  To that end, IT management and staff have been working closely with our storage vendor to schedule top-tier engineers  for this ongoing diagnosis and improvement effort.

WHOM will this affect:

The storage system undergoing maintenance services all campus home directories, most academic and research shares, and most administrative data as well.  Again, we are not planning for an outage, but we are preparing for one. This maintenance will not affect storage attached to the Superior High Performance Cluster nor any other locally-attached storage.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact IT User Services at (906) 487-1111 or email it-help@mtu.edu.

Michigan Tech’s 2014 Information Security & Compliance Survey

Posted by ashley under Security

Michigan Tech is required to comply with a wide variety of federal and state laws, regulations, and contractual agreements with respect to information security and privacy. The University needs your continued support in maintaining an accurate inventory of the University’s information assets.

The annual survey provides the University with the necessary information needed to ensure that Michigan Tech is in compliance with security and privacy requirements. The survey not only helps identify what types of training University employees should have but it also helps determine the effectiveness of the University’s Information Security Awareness Training Program.

Employees can expect to see the survey this week. On average it should take 10 minutes or less to complete.

If you have questions regarding this process or the survey, contact Ashley Sudderth, Chief Information Compliance Officer, ashley@mtu.edu.

Upcoming telephone system software upgrade

Posted by kcsmith under Telephone & Voice Services

IT Telecommunications will begin upgrading the Mitel telephone system software at 7:00am on Saturday, March 8, 2014. The upgrade should be completely in place by 7:00am Monday, March 10, 2014. During the upgrade process, users may experience the loss or degradation of telephone services for as long as two hours. The service interruption may happen at any time during the process, and it may happen more than once. Affected systems include all Mitel VoIP telephones, voicemail services, analog phones, fax machines, and any other equipment that uses telephone lines. DSL network services should not be affected.

Anyone planning to work in their offices on the weekend of March 8-9 should plan for potential telephone service interruptions.

USG/GSG IT Open Form Materials

Posted by dan under Computing on Campus, From the Director

Below are links to accompanying materials from the presentation that was recently given at the USG/GSG IT Open Forum on February 27, 2014.

Please contact Dan de Beaubien with any questions.

Phishing Training Program Starting

Posted by ashley under Security

Michigan Tech is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve information security and protect the University’s sensitive information. As part of the University’s ongoing Security and Compliance Training initiatives, Information Technology Services (ITS) will be launching a recurring Phishing Training Program. Phishing attacks are becoming more advanced and are a serious threat. The University needs your help in protecting University networks, systems, and data.

Phishing is the act of stealing information such as usernames, passwords, bank account details, credit card numbers and other valuable information by impersonating as a trustworthy sender. Phishing emails may appear to be from popular social media sites, payroll services, or even the University’s IT department to try and “trick” unsuspecting recipients. These emails can be extremely convincing, such as a message from Amazon saying that your credit card has been declined, or from Visa saying that they have detected unauthorized activity on your account. The messages frequently feature logos, coloring schemes, and company motto’s that make the email even more believable.

The goal of this training program is to continually improve end users ability to identify and properly handle phishing emails. You will receive mock phishing emails from time-to-time to help you learn how to avoid the real ones. If you accidentally click on the link in the simulated phishing message, you will be shown a brief training web page that will give you the skills and techniques you need stay “off the hook” in the future.

We thank you for your help and attention to this important security initiative.  If you have any questions or concerns relating to the Phishing Training Program, please contact David Hale (ddh@mtu.edu) or Ashley Sudderth (ashley@mtu.edu).

Michigan Tech Software Distribution Center Launched

Posted by seackerm under Software

Michigan Tech IT has launched a new site for students, faculty and staff to download software packages available to them for installation on their personal computers. Software includes Matlab, AutoCad, ChemBioDraw, EndNote, Microsoft Office, and more.

To see a list of available software, please login to www.it.mtu.edu/downloads, utilizing your Michigan Tech ISO username and password.

Software provided through this site is either:

  • Licensed by Michigan Tech and provided at no cost to you
  • Available for purchase at a discount under a contract with the vendor
  • Provided at no cost by the vendor to all academics
  • Freely available software that is commonly used

Your customized software list is based on your status (student, faculty or staff) and program; certain software packages are major-specific, e.g., College of Engineering.

If you have any questions or issues with the site or any software packages, please contact IT User Services at it-help@mtu.edu or 906-487-1111.

Unix File Permissions on Home Directories

Posted by Joshua Myles under Computing on Campus

This information pertains primarily to Linux and Mac OS customers. If you access files only from Windows computers, you can skip this one.

The new storage system to which home directories were recently migrated stores and manages Unix (Linux and Mac OS computers using NFS) and Windows file permissions differently than the old system. In the new system, each file or directory has a single set of ownership and permissions, whereas the old system maintained two sets, one for Unix and one for Windows.

As a result, sometimes permissions appear differently than you would expect, especially from a Unix computer, because they only approximate the richer set of permissions (access control lists, or ACLs) that are actually assigned. This happened when we applied an ACL to home directories to correct a file downloading issue with some Windows web browsers, causing extra executable permissions to appear. If you are primarily a Unix user, this can be annoying at best.

On Thursday, 02 Jan 2014, we changed how the storage system handles setting permissions from Unix computers, which now allows customers to directly set the desired permissions instead of permissions that result from any ACLs that are assigned. You can accomplish this with the ‘chmod’ command or any of the graphical file managers in Linux or Mac OS. If you would like assistance with this, please contact us at it-help@mtu.edu or 906-487-1111.

We are also developing additional documentation on these and other storage related topics, and will post again when those materials are ready.

Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer

Information Technology

1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931-1295

Michigan Technological University

1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931-1295
906-487-1885

See a Problem?

Email the Webmaster

Protected by Akismet | Blog with WordPress