Archives—December 2013

Michigan Tech IT Security Information [Please Read]

This is official information from Michigan Tech Information Technology Services.

A number of computers on campus have been compromised and a number of username/password combinations have been recorded and sent off campus.
If you have received notification that you need to reset your password *please proceed immediately* to login.mtu.edu and do so.
If you have used the same password for other sites you should reset those as well.
Please note that this compromise involved a number of linux servers and that SSH (secure shell) access to them may be temporary blocked or rerouted as those machines are being secured.
You will also find notices related to this at:
If you have any questions about this, please contact IT Help at it-help@mtu.edu or (906) 487-1111

Recent phishing attacks against Michigan Tech

* REMINDER: NEVER submit your password over email. Michigan Tech will never ask for your credentials over email.

With the holiday season upon us, we are seeing an expected increase in the number of phishing attacks against campus. Hackers tend to take advantage of holidays to launch these attacks for a number of reasons. It’s a time of year when students, faculty, and staff are likely away from campus and do not have any in-person support. It’s also a time when most IT support is running at a lower staffing level. Both of these combine to create lowered awareness of attacks and slower response times to compromised accounts.

These messages will often appear as legitimate messages warning you of some time critical process that requires you to verify you identity. Recently these have mentioned that you email access may be revoked. Other examples of phishing attacks can be found at http://www.security.mtu.edu/email-security/.

We would like to remind our users that Michigan Tech will never ask you to put your password in an email message. We do not ever need to know your password. If we do need to verify your identity we may direct you to a University website ending in .mtu.edu, most likely https://www.login.mtu.edu or https://banweb.mtu.edu.

If you do receive a message asking for your credentials, please be sure to mark it in Gmail as a phishing attempt. This will help Google identify similar messages and will also allow them to remove or flag the message in other users accounts. Instructions on marking the message as a phishing attempt can be found on the IT Blog at:

http://blogs.mtu.edu/it/2013/10/04/phishing-attacks-keep-your-information-safe/

If you do accidentally reply to a phishing attempt or fill in a form on a non-MTU website you should immediately change your ISO password by visiting https://www.login.mtu.edu and selecting the “Change your MTU ISO password” option. You should also report the potential disclosure to it-help@mtu,edu as we can ensure that any connections that the attacker may have established with your credentials are terminated.

We appreciate your awareness and diligence in dealing with these situations.

-Dave Hale
Sr. Security Officer
IT/Michigan Technological University



IT Customer Outreach Program

Information Technology is implementing a customer outreach program in an effort to better address the needs of the Michigan Tech campus computing community. It is a priority of IT to understand the current scope of campus service and support, identify where adjustments need to be made, and take the necessary steps for improvement based on users’ input.

The IT Campus Liaison will be working with departments to gather information and identifying candidates to interview as an initial step in improving the computer support on campus and capturing the computing needs most important to the success of the University.

For more information on this program or how you can get involved, please contact IT at it-help@mtu.edu or 487-1111.



Status of Storage Issue

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding while we make progress bringing you the quality centralized storage services you deserve. Our centralized storage plays a critical role in many processes – from logging in on your computer to printing – and is necessary for the healthy operation of applications from BANNER to your browser. The scale of the service disruption  is not lost on me or my staff and again, I offer my apology for the great inconvenience this reduction in service has caused.

Over the last week my staff has tirelessly worked to stabilize the performance of the central storage to the point that it is acceptably useable. They have tweaked and tuned everything they could and have succeeded in stabilizing the patient. To continue the medical analogy, we have moved the patient from the ICU to the general care ward and we continue to actively monitor the health of the system.

We are not through. I am not satisfied with “acceptable.” I only will be satisfied when the new storage equipment operates in a superior fashion, as originally specified, and as rightfully expected. Working aggressively with our storage vendor we have arranged for additional storage equipment to be delivered and installed as soon as is possible. We expect the additional equipment to be here within the week, and you should see a lasting improvement in your centralized storage services as soon as we bring the first piece of equipment online.

My goal, from this recent storage upgrade, was to provide you the most capable, reliable, flexible, and highly performing storage for your campus computing needs. The additional equipment and the continued work of my staff and all those involved in bringing this additional hardware to bear on this problem will meet this goal.

In closing I would also like to thank the campus community for the many supportive words and emails during this difficult time. So rare a thing, this fellowship during adversity, is the hallmark of Michigan Tech students, faculty, and staff.



Storage Issue Updates

FINAL UPDATE
IT Staff have worked to stabilize the storage array until additional storage equipment is delivered. We are closing this notice at this time. While we don’t consider the performance issue to be resolved there will be no further updates here on the matter. Future updates will be distributed via the MTU IT Blog.

For the history of this issue, please check the post on the IT Status page.


Status of Ongoing Storage Issues

First, let me offer my deepest apology for the disruption in central storage services that is impacting the ability to use campus computing resources.

After the home directory upgrade was complete, it wasn’t until enough load was put on the new storage system that an unforeseen performance issue became apparent. The new system was specified and designed to be at an order of magnitude more powerful, flexible, and high-performing, and thus far, it has failed to do so. Since the discovery of the performance issue on Monday the IT Storage Services team and I have been actively working to resolve the problem, and we have engaged top level engineers from the storage vendor. In turn, they have escalated our support case as high as possible within their organization. We are aggressively pushing our vendor for a rapid solution and will not ease up on our efforts until the performance problems are eliminated.

In the event that a rapid solution is not forthcoming, we have a roll-back plan in reserve. This would mean an additional complete home directory outage, that would span roughly 24 to 36 hours. In the event that the decision to roll back is made, Information Technology will send out an additional announcement.

Please know that we are working around the clock to resolve this issue and sincerely appreciate your patience during this difficult period. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me directly at ccwill@mtu.edu.

Cayce Will
Director of IT Infrastructure Services


Electronic Display System (EDS) Transition to Four Winds Interactive

Information Technology Services is implementing a new digital sign content manager by Four Winds Interactive (FWi), a versatile and full-featured system for creating, deploying and managing digital signage content across networks. The system is currently being used on the new screens in the Library and will soon be available across campus.

During this implementation, the current Electronic Display System (EDS) has been turned off with the exception of MTU Cable channel 23-1. IT is currently in the process of upgrading each location to broadcast the new EDS feed, at which time the monitors will be brought back online for campus viewing.

New Four Winds sign displaying IT news and updates

To learn more about the Four Winds Interactive digital signage and how your department can be involved, please contact it-help@mtu.edu for more information.