Archives—January 2014

Phishing Training Program Starting

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 ( or Ashley Sudderth (

Michigan Tech Software Distribution Center Launched

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, 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 or 906-487-1111.

Unix File Permissions on Home Directories

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 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.