Archive for January 2013

College Wi-Fi now available in the Buttery Food Court and Cafe

IS Services and Accommodation and Catering Services are pleased to announce the availability of College Wi-Fi in the Buttery Food Court and Café.

This new development comes as part of IS Services’ continuous service improvement ethos, and in response to demand for wireless network connectivity in this area of College.  We have installed high-density equipment in anticipation of high Wi-Fi usage in this area.  Please visit our wireless network locations map for a complete list of Wi-Fi coverage on Campus.

We hope that you’ll be able to make good use of this service, while also enjoying a nice cup of tea or coffee, and a bite to eat!

IS Services

 

RSS School Analytics Application

The RSS School Analytics Application went live on 22 Jan.  It is a web application featuring data visualizations and interactive reports communicating activity on the Research Support System for Schools.  The application is available to the Dean of Research, Heads of Schools, School Directors of Research and School Research Administrators via the Research Support System main menu.

IS Services

Update on AV facilities – Audio Induction Loop systems on Campus

As part of a programme of on-going work, the Buildings Office have recently installed Audio Induction Loop systems for the deaf and hard of hearing in the Davis, JM Synge, Swift and Uí Chaidháin lecture theatres in the Arts Building.  For more information on accessibility within College, and to read more on access work carried out over the last 10 years, please visit the Disability Service website.

Top IT Security privacy tips for social media users

IT Security – How Secure are you Online: The checklist

There are a few IT security tips that just make sense for any time you find your­self using a computer, phone or tablet, whether that is a College device or a personal one. Below is a summary of some topics covered in our IT Security awareness week, including a few tips we think might help you to ensure your security:

  • Use strong passwords both for your College accounts and all your personal accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, PayPal. Strong passwords – cannot be easily guessed; contain a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols rather than a dictionary word; and, in general should be no less than 8 characters in length.
  • Don’t use the same password for everything; this increases the likelihood of multiple accounts getting hacked at once potentially turning a small problem into a disaster!
  • Don’t let the software installed on your computers fall too far out-of-date. This goes for antivirus applications in particular – they are only truly effective when up-to-date.
  • Be aware of scams; don’t reply to emails or pop-up messages in your browser that ask for passwords or personal or financial information.
  • Staff can protect sensitive data on College laptops by using data encryption.  This ensures that, if your computer is stolen or lost, sensitive or confidential College data is still secure and cannot be accessed. Contact IS Services and get your laptop encrypted today.
  • Have you backed up your important data recently? Avoid disaster by coming up with a data and devise backup strategy now. Concentrate on your most important information and come up with a plan to back it up regularly.

Protect your privacy on Facebook

A review of Facebook’s privacy policy will give you all the latest regarding pro­tecting your privacy on Facebook. Here are just a few tips for you to consider in order protecting your privacy:

  • Shield your personal info
  • Hide your photos from public consumption
  • Screen posts and photos tagged with your name
  • Restrict access to all your old Facebook posts
  • Protect your account from hackers with a strong password
  • Finally, always remember to log off!

Protect your information on Mobile Devices

Smartphones and tablets are essentially mobile computers, therefore it is important to realise that you need to protect and secure your phone or tablet just as you would your computer.

  • Set a password or Personal Identification Number (PIN) on your device.
  • Set up your device to automatically lock if it has not been used for a set period of time – 5mins
  • Keep the software up-to-date just as with your computer.
  • Disable Bluetooth when it is not actively transmitting information and switch Bluetooth devices to hidden mode.
  • Make sure to delete all information stored on a phone or tablet prior to discarding, exchanging or donating it to charity.

Throughout the year, you can keep up-to-date with the latest IS Services news, alerts and security info at isservices.tcd.ie and through our Twitter account @tcdisservices.  If you have an IT query you’re welcome to contact the IS Services Helpdesk where our staff can provide assistance.

IS Services

Top tips for data back-up and how to recover when disaster strikes

Data backup

It’s happened to everyone. You are right in the middle of working on something very important on your computer, you haven’t hit ‘save’ yet, and the computer just powers off for some inexplicable reason and now it won’t turn back on.  It’s Murphy’s Law; anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.  Not this time Murphy!  Thankfully, you have most of the work saved on a USB stick and you’ll be able to retrieve that work instead of starting over completely.

Data backup procedures are essential in protecting your data and software and help facilitate a rapid recovery from an emergency. Remember IS Services only backs up certain critical systems, backing up your data is your responsibility. This is why we have put together a few recommendations that will help you backup your own data routinely:

  1. Identify important data – This includes Microsoft Word and Excel files, any databases held locally on your machine and don’t forget your email. If you use an email client like Outlook then all you email is downloaded and held in a folder on your computer.
  2. Select an appropriate Backup Media –This could be a USB stick, a DVD, a portable external hard drive, or even storage in the Cloud, or any number or combination of these options.
  3. Label your backups – Keep a record of what has been backed up.
  4. Make multiple backups of important data – Make multiple copies of important data from different time intervals e.g. a backup from one day ago, a backup from one week ago and a backup from one month ago.
  5. Finally, make sure to store your backup media safely & test your backup!

 

Planning for disaster recovery

Always be prepared for the worst-case scenario.  When you are prepared, you’ll find the road to recovery that much easier.

Beyond simple data recovery, you will also need to plan for any IT needs unique to your set-up, for example, re-licensing software where the license was associated explicitly with the previous computer.

Here’s a helpful checklist when devising your backup strategy:

  • Are all data, operating systems and utility files adequately and systematically backed up? (Ensure this includes all patches, fixes and updates)
  • Are there adequate records of what is backed up and to where?
  • Are there records of the licensed software?
  • Are copies of the media and records stored remotely and safely?
  • Have you tested the backup to make sure it works?
  • Can any new hardware read the backup media?
  • Will the software license run on the new hardware?
  • Has a disaster recovery exercise been practiced successfully?

 

IS Services

How to keep your computing devices malware free

Malware comes from the words ‘malicious’ and ‘software’, and is designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner’s consent. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and other malicious and unwanted software.

Is my computer affected?

Below are a number of common signs that your computer may be infected with spyware or adware viruses:

  • Numerous Popup windows appearing
  • Frequent computer crashes
  • Strange hard drive/modem behaviour
  • Unusually slow computer and/or Internet connection
  • Stolen credit card numbers, identity theft, or phone charges to high rate numbers

Even if you notice none of these signs, Spyware could still be present on your computer. It often sits idle on your computer, waiting for a pre-set time to strike you or other computers on the Internet.

What should I do?

  1. Make sure you are running anti-virus software on your college computer
  2. Select a Program to Scan Your Computer for Spyware/Adware.
  3. Be selective about what software you download especially when it is “freeware” and “shareware” as these can sometimes be sources of spyware infections.
  4. Don’t click on links in spam email, spyware is increasingly spread through e-mail just like other viruses.

How can I prevent spyware from installing on my computer?

To avoid unintentionally installing it yourself, follow these good security practices:

  • Don’t click on links within pop-up windows – Because pop-up windows are often a product of spyware, clicking on the window may install spyware software on your computer. To close the pop-up window, click on the “X” icon in the titlebar instead of a “close” link within the window.
  • Choose “no” when asked unexpected questions – Be wary of unexpected dialog boxes asking whether you want to run a particular program or perform another type of task. Always select “no” or “cancel,” or close the dialog box by clicking the “X” icon in the titlebar.
  • Be wary of free downloadable software – There are many sites that offer customized toolbars or other features that appeal to users. Don’t download programs from sites you don’t trust, and be aware that you may be exposing your computer to spyware by downloading some of these programs.
  • Don’t follow email links claiming to offer anti-spyware software – Like email viruses, the links may serve the opposite purpose and actually install the spyware it claims to be eliminating.
  • As an additional good security practice, consider adjusting your browser preferences to limit pop-up windows and cookies.

 

IS Services

How to recognise a phishing attack

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a form of online fraud. In a typical phishing incident, you may receive an email or pop-up message that claims to be from IS Services or another business or organisation that you may have previously dealt with for example eBay or Bank of Ireland. The message may ask you to ‘update,’ ‘validate,’ or ‘confirm’ your account information.

College staff and students should treat any email that asks for your username and password details with extreme caution. The consequences of falling victim to a phishing attempt are not limited to your own account, but could affect the College community as a whole. One compromised account could potentially endanger vast amounts of sensitive data. Or, one compromised account distributing large amounts of spam could result in College losing email as a service entirely for a period of time.

How can I recognise a phishing email?

Always trust your instincts, if an email offers something that looks too good to be true, it possibly is.  Similarly don’t be tempted to respond hastily to an email which threatens to disable your account. Check the IS Services website or give the helpdesk a call if you are unsure whether an email is genuine or not.

Phishing emails often have the following types of characteristics:

  • They may use language like ‘important notice’, ‘urgent update’ or ‘alert’ or ‘violation’ with a deceptive subject line to persuade you that the email has come from a trusted source.
  • They may contain messages that use threatening language, stating that your account will be disabled if you do not act.
  • They may appear to come from someone in College but you should be aware that email addresses can be forged easily.
  • They  may copy content such as  logos and images used on legitimate websites to make the email look genuine.
  • They may contain hyperlinks that will redirect you to a fraudulent website instead of the genuine links that are displayed.  If you see a link in a suspicious email message, don’t click on it. Rest your mouse (but don’t click) on the link to see if the address matches the link typed in the message.

Have a look at the example of a recent phishing message sent to College users below:

 

What should I do when I receive a phishing email to my College email account?

Staff members who suspect that they have received a phishing email, and have not clicked on any links in it or acted on it in any way should report it to our anti-spam service by forwarding it to abuse@frontbridge.com. Emails sent to this address will be considered for addition to the list of known sources of SPAM, and so will no longer arrive into College. When forwarding an email to this address please ensure to include the email headers.

What do I do if I think I have responded to a phishing email in College?

If you have replied to a phishing message or clicked on any links within the email body and entered your College username and password please immediately change your password and report this to the Helpdesk (+353 01 896 2000).

Finally remember ..

IS Services will never ever ask for your username and password via email and you can confirm any communications from us with our website isservices.tcd.ie or the Helpdesk.

 

IS Services

How to keep your accounts secure with strong passwords

Creating a secure password for one account can seem like a challenge, trying to remember multiple secure passwords for multiple accounts can be stressful and daunting.  It can be tempting to reuse a single password for multiple accounts but this is never a good idea as cybercriminals steal passwords on websites that have very little security, and will then try the same user name and password on other sites.   Password reuse therefore creates a security vulnerability which could provide an attacker with easy access to many of your accounts and compromise a vast amount of your information.

The best idea is to use separate passwords for all your important accounts which provide access to important information about you like your College network or email account, iTunes account, Amazon account, PayPal, Linkedin, Facebook etc.

How can I manage all my passwords?

One useful way to manage you passwords is to use a password management application like Keepass. This is a small application which you can install on your computer and use to store your password information. The application is encrypted and password protected.  Obviously you should choose a really strong password to protect this application and remember to transfer and delete all information when you buy a new computer.

How do I create a strong password?

The key ideas to think about when creating a password are:

  • Length – Make your passwords long with 8 or more characters.
  • Complexity – Include letters, symbols, and numbers and a variety of upper and lower case characters.
  • Test it online – When you think you have come up with a secure password you can check it with an online password checker.

There are many ways to create a long, complex password. Here are some ideas which might help you create a strong password which you can remember:

 What to do Example
First start with a sentence. I work in the school of english.
Then remove the spaces between the words in the sentence. Iworkintheschoolofenglish
Next capitalise the first letter of each word IWorkInTheSchoolOfEnglish
Turn words into shorthand or intentionally misspell a word. IWrkInTheSkoolOfEgn
Finally add length and complexity with numbers and special characters. Put numbers that are meaningful to you after the sentence. IWrk1nTh3Sk00lOfEgn#2013


Remember to avoid the most common password mistakes

Avoid creating passwords that use:

  • Dictionary words.
  • Sequences or repeated characters. -For example 12345678, 3333333, abcdefg, or adjacent letters on your keyboard (qwerty).
  • Your personal information such as your name or birthday.
  • Information connected to the account for example a poor password to use for your College network account would be ‘Trinity1’ or ‘College2’ .

Password Manager

Finally remember to sign up for TCD Password Manager, this is a web-based application which allows staff and students to manage and reset their network login password. For a complete set of instructions on how to get started using Password Manager as a member of staff please see staff information, and as a student please see student information.

IS Services

December Helpdesk statistics and top-ten issues

In December the IS Services Helpdesk received nearly 2200 queries via phone, email, walk in and web. You can see more details at http://isservices.tcd.ie/help/helpdesk_statistics.php#month

Your Top Ten issues reported to the Helpdesk in December can be seen via the link below: http://isservices.tcd.ie/help/helpdesk-top-ten.php

IS Services