Author Archives: Chris Norris

Middlebury Google Apps Issues (Resolved)

At 3:07pm (ET) Google made us aware they they were investigating issues with Google Drive and related services like Docs, Sheets, and Slides. These issues affected all Google Apps customers, not just Middlebury. As of 5:37pm (ET), Google Apps services appear to be back up.

Google’s official Apps status updates can always be found here: http://www.google.com/appsstatus#hl=en&v=status

This post has been updated because the issues have been resolved. Thanks for your patience!

Incoming Email Services Disruption (Resolved)

Please note that there was an unexpected disruption to Middlebury’s incoming email services this morning. The issue has since been resolved. Please see below for more details.

Between 8:30 AM and 10:00 AM (ET), Middlebury’s email system was unable to receive incoming email sent from external addresses. Email messages sent to @middlebury.edu and @miis.edu email addresses from external addresses were rejected by Middlebury’s email servers. External senders would have received a “Non-Deliverable Notice” notifying them of the problem. Internal email messages, i.e. messages sent from @middlebury.edu or @miis.edu addresses, were not impacted.

The problem was corrected at approximately 10:00 AM (ET). External senders should be advised to resend messages that were rejected before the problem was resolved.

Middlebury Security Alert for iOS Users

Middlebury ITS Information Security is currently investigating indications that members of the Middlebury community are using iOS apps infected with the recently discovered XCodeGhost malware.

XCodeGhost-infected apps can potentially steal private information and even launch phony authentication dialogues that can be used to attempt to steal usernames and passwords. Despite this capability, no information has yet come to light indicating that the infected apps were used for malicious purposes, such as harvesting personally identifiable information or stealing passwords

The majority of the XCodeGhost-infected apps were authored by Chinese developers who were tricked into downloading fake Apple development libraries. Therefore, the greatest impact of the XCodeGhost appears to be in China.  Some apps have been identified, however, that have world-wide use, including WeChat, Baidu, and others.

If you have an iOS device, our recommendation is that you remove from the device any apps known to be compromised with XCodeGhost. Download and reinstall the app from the Apple App Store once a fixed version has been made available.

A list of known bad apps can be found here: http://www.apple.com/cn/xcodeghost/#english

Additional details on XCodeGhost can be found here: https://labs.opendns.com/2015/09/21/xcodeghost-materializes/

Questions regarding this security alert may be directed to infosec@middlebury.edu.

Improved Filtering of SPAM and Phishing Email

ITS has begun enabling new, proactive anti-spam and anti-phishing email filters intended to improve the filtering of unsolicited and unwanted messages, by leveraging external reputation-based lists of email servers that have been flagged for sending spam and/or malicious email.

We’ve had the new filters in “Tag” mode since October 2014, so we’re confident that they are accurate and we’ll be closely monitoring incoming mail queues during the days after the change. Still, there is a possibility that someone trying to sending you email will have their message blocked, if their email servers have been flagged for sending spam and/or malicious email. The sender, in such cases, will receive an email advising them that their message could not be delivered.

If you encounter such as scenario, (i.e. a legitimate sender is trying to email you, but the message is being blocked by Middlebury’s email servers), or you have noticed legitimate messages recently having been incorrectly tagged as [SPAM?], please contact the ITS Help Desk at helpdesk@middlebury.edu and we will help you identify and resolve the issue.

General questions about this change may be directed to infosec@middlebury.edu.

Sophos Anti-Virus Updates to 10.3.x – Restart Required

College-managed Windows computers which have Sophos EndPoint Security suite installed have automatically received a Sophos update to version 10.3.x. This update requires a reboot of the computer to complete.

Middlebury’s software management application, (KACE), may display a “desktop alert” message requesting that your computer be rebooted to complete the Sophos update. This is a legitimate and valid alert! If you see this KACE “desktop alert” message, please save your files and restart your computer as soon as possible, thank you.

Questions related to this update may be directed to infosec@middlebury.edu.

Security Note – ‘Shellshock’ Vulnerability

As you may have read in mainstream news media outlets, a vulnerability was recently discovered in the Bourne Again Shell (Bash) component of Unix-based operating systems. This vulnerability could allow an attacker to execute shell commands through shell environment variables. It has also been leveraged for denial of service attacks and other malicious activity.

ITS has already patched relevant local systems and is expecting vendors to patch any relevant externally-hosted systems. There is no evidence to suggest that Middlebury assets have been compromised.

More information about the vulnerability is available on the ITS Information Security web site’s ‘Threat Bulletin’ area: http://www.middlebury.edu/media/view/486102/original/middlebury_threat_bulletin_shellshock.pdf

If you have specific questions, please feel free to email infosec@middlebury.edu.

Security Note – Internet Explorer Zero-Day Bug

As you may have read in mainstream news media outlets, a security vulnerability was recently discovered in Internet Explorer which could allow a remote attacker to execute code on a compromised system. This vulnerability is being actively exploited through Flash-enabled web sites. The vulnerability allows an attacker to execute code on the compromised system and gain access with the same level of permissions as the system user.

Microsoft is releasing patches to address this vulnerability. Middlebury’s network has enhanced security protections already in place.

Here are some protective steps that you can take on your own:

More information about the vulnerability is available on the LIS Information Security web site’s ‘Threat Bulletin’ area: http://www.middlebury.edu/media/view/476056/original/middlebury_ie_zeroday.pdf

If you have specific questions, please feel free to email infosec@middlebury.edu.

Security Note – OpenSSL ‘Heartbleed’ Vulnerability

As you may have read in mainstream news media outlets, a vulnerability was recently discovered in certain versions of OpenSSL which could allow a remote attacker access to sensitive data on certain types of servers.

LIS has already patched relevant local systems and is working with vendors to ensure that any relevant externally-hosted systems are similarly patched. There is no evidence to suggest that Middlebury account credentials have been compromised.

More information about the vulnerability is available on the LIS Information Security web site’s ‘Threat Bulletin’ area: http://www.middlebury.edu/media/view/475111/original/middlebury_threat_bulletin_openssl_heartbleed.pdf

If you have specific questions, please feel free to email infosec@middlebury.edu.