Category Archives: middpoints

@MiddInfoSec: Information Security is Everyone’s Responsibility!

It is important for each of us to be aware of the increasing security risks to our increasingly connected lives. From laptops and tablets to smartphones and wearable technology, and 24/7 access to our personal data, the risk of sensitive information being exposed is very real.

  • Be Data Aware:

 Travel with, save, or record ONLY the data that is necessary and essential. Always redact or remove unnecessary sensitive data. Always keep your data backed-up and encrypted, when possible.

  • Protect Your Device:

Add a passcode to your cell phone, tablet, or laptop right now! iOS devices automatically encrypt your data once a passcode has been set. Android devices can encrypt your data with a few minor settings changes.

  • Use Strong & Unique Passwords or Passphrases:

Especially for online banking and other important accounts.

  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication when available:

Middlebury is introducing MFA for O365 and other services in 2016. Use MFA wherever possible.

  • Check Your Social Media Settings:

Review your social media security and privacy settings frequently. Enable MFA whenever possible. Keep your social media accounts current or close them.

  • Educate Yourself:

Stay informed about the latest technology trends and security issues such as malware and phishing. Visit http://go.middlebury.edu/infosec for more information. For targeted training visit: http://go.middlebury.edu/infoseced .

  • Get Trained:

Contact ITS – Information Security at infosec@middlebury.edu to set up a training session for your department.

@MiddInfoSec: Keeping Your Password Secure

Did you know that most passwords are easily broken? A few “secrets” can help you make a stronger more memorable password.

Dos

  • Longer is better – use at least 8 characters with upper and lower case, numbers and symbols.
  • Create an easy-to-remember passphrase  with four or more words substituting special characters for some of the letters.
  • Use a unique password for each service or account.
  • Change your password or passphrase regularly:
  • Be sure you’re on the correct website before entering your password or passphrase
  • Set a password for access to your mobile device

Don’ts

  • Don’t include personal information such as usernames, account numbers, address or phone numbers in your password or passphrase.
  • Don’t reuse the same password for multiple services
  • Don’t use a single word, in any language
  • Don’t use consecutive repeating characters or a number sequence
  • Don’t share your password or passphrase – even with managers, co-workers or the Help Desk
  • Don’t send your passwords through email

Tools

Can Students See My Course Site?

Middlebury is approaching the start of the undergraduate academic year, this is the time where faculty are thinking about course web sites. The college has also started the transition from Moodle to Canvas, a new Learning Management System (LMS) that is developed and hosted by Instructure. Like Moodle, faculty can create their Canvas course sites...

[Continue reading]

Public Folder access during e-mail transition

Dear Colleagues,

As you may have heard, Middlebury is in the process of moving our e-mail infrastructure to the cloud in stages – see http://go.middlebury.edu/cloud for details. While this has generally gone smoothly so far, there can be issues if people who have been migrated try to access other mailboxes that have not, or vice versa, especially on Macs. (Outlook for Windows generally works well, possibly after some adjustments as explained at http://go.middlebury.edu/mailmove.) In most cases we can move mailboxes together with the people who access them, but due to the nature of Public Folders they all need to be moved at once (currently scheduled for 8/30).

Bottom line: Mac users may find themselves unable to access Public Folders between the time that their own account is moved and August 30th. (Middfiles and other file servers will be unaffected; this is only for shared folders in Outlook e.g. department calendars.)

If this is an issue for your work, please comment here or e-mail zschuetz@middlebury.edu to discuss so we can find a solution.

We appreciate your patience as we strive to keep our systems functioning optimally.

Sincerely,

~Zach Schuetz
Middlebury College ITS

Transitioning IT services to the cloud

We are pleased to announce a change we are making to Middlebury’s email and calendar service. After years of running these applications on our own infrastructure, we are moving them to the cloud—specifically to Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of services.

There are several benefits to this move:

  • Stronger security. Microsoft is able to devote more resources to security than we ever could. As hackers become increasingly sophisticated, this has never been more important. Microsoft’s cloud-based services include an important second level of security that recognizes “trusted” devices, which can include mobile devices or a home computer. This means that even if someone learned your user name or password, they still would need a special code to access your account from a device other than your own.  Middlebury users will not be compelled at the outset to use this service, though we think it will be attractive to many people and we will be encouraging and supporting its use going forward once the transition to Microsoft’s cloud-based email and calendar service is complete.
  • Better and faster access. Putting data in the cloud will allow us to automatically synchronize data across devices and provide better and faster access regardless of your location.
  • Increased storage. Microsoft’s scale allows it to provide greater storage capacity at less cost. This means we will be able to back up data on a nearly real-time basis. And you no longer will need to worry about size of your email archive.

We don’t anticipate any significant disruption in services when we make the change. If you use Outlook, the switch will happen overnight, and your mailbox and calendar will look exactly as they did the previous day once you restart your computer.  In some cases, it has been necessary to replace your outlook profile, but if that is necessary, we’ll assist you.  The webmail site is very similar to what you are using today, but there are slight differences consistent with a new version.  For those employees who use an email client other than Outlook or webmail, we will provide instructions on how to adjust your account settings.

The process of transitioning mailboxes and calendars to the Microsoft cloud service will begin next week and continue through September, with faculty and students transitioned before the start of the semester and members of administrative departments scheduled by department in batches with advanced notice and on premise support.  The schedule of moves is available here:  http://go.middlebury.edu/cloud.

This fall we will begin a transition of content currently stored on Middfiles to the cloud. This change will bring with it many of the same benefits as those described above and in addition facilitate collaboration – allowing you to share your data with colleagues at Middlebury and elsewhere with ease. We’ll keep you posted as we get closer to that move.

We are excited to deliver these significant improvements to the services we provide to the community. Once complete, we are confident they will result in better service with a reduction in cost and risk. If you have any questions, please contact our helpdesk at helpdesk@middlebury.edu.

Best regards,

The Middlebury ITS Team

@MiddInfoSec: Information Security’s ‘Security Scout of the Month’

To help raise awareness about community efforts to prevent significant security issues, Middlebury Information Security has launched a ‘Security Scout of the Month’ award.

This month Information Security would like to recognize Amy Dale who promptly and accurately responded to potential malware activity by unplugging her computer and reaching out to the Help Desk for immediate assistance.

When asked, Amy shared this advice about computer security, “My previous work experience, particularly at AOL, helped prepare me to be more alert and aware of scams. A previous manager always said, “when in doubt, leave it out.”  In other words, when you’re the least bit hesitant, then don’t open/click/download, etc. “

This astute awareness and keen insight is why Amy is this month’s ‘Security Scout of the Month’.

We are excited to celebrate the hard work and security conscious efforts of our community. Please watch for the next ‘Security Scout of the Month’ and help us recognize these efforts.

If you would like to recognize an individual for their information security contributions or would like to raise an information security concern, please contact infosec@middlebury.edu.

@MiddInfoSec: Stay Safe and Secure when Online

When you are reading e-mail or browsing online, be on the lookout for suspicious links and deceptive web pages, which are major sources of malware. Also be careful of downloadable files since they can introduce malware. And remember that additional browser plugins and unused applications require additional patching to remain secure. Here are some suggestions to make your day-to-day computing more productive, safe, and secure.

  • Keep your software up-to-date. Be sure to install antivirus updates and regularly check for and install updates for any applications or browser plugins you may run on your computer. (e.g., Adobe Flash and Java)
  • Be more secure! Don’t enter sensitive or personal information into a URL unless you have verified the address and you have ensured its security by checking that it includes HTTPS.
  • When in doubt, ignore. Don’t click on pop-up windows or extraneous ads. And, don’t click on links in emails or web sites until you have verified their destinations by hovering your mouse over the link.
  • Keep your private information safe. Use a strong, unique password or passphrase for each account, and avoid storing account information on a website. And consider using a digital password wallet such as 1Password or LastPass to secure your passwords.
  • Segregate your browsing activities. Consider using separate browsers for sensitive logins and general web browsing.
  • Use private networks for sensitive transactions. Avoid checking your bank account, making purchases, or logging in to other websites that include sensitive information when using public Wi-Fi.

Go stealth when browsing. Your browser can store quite a bit of information about your online activities, including cookies, cached pages, and history. To ensure the privacy of personal information online, limit access by going “incognito” and using the browser’s private mode.

@MiddInfoSec: Phishing Alert — “Notice!!!” or “Verify”

A phishing email message was sent to many @middlebury.edu mailboxes today with a subject line of “Notice!!!” or “Verify”.  DO NOT RESPOND ON THIS MESSAGE!

The phishing email message is an attack designed to trick people into disclosing their username and password.  Do NOT follow the instructions in the message, as it could lead to your Middlebury account being compromised.

Instead, please forward the suspect message to phishing@middlebury.edu.

If you think you might have fallen victim to these or any phishing attack RESET YOUR PASSWORD IMMEDIATELY at http://go.middlebury.edu/password

If you have lost access to your email account, please reset your password and contact the Helpdesk at x2200 for further assistance.

Here’s a sample of the phishing email message:


College Of Middlebury, would be having maintenance as from 12 midnight which your present password would expire due to maintenance updates.

 

To avoid suspend login error Submit HERE

 

Failure to comply admin would suspend your account due inactive response.

 

Thank you,

IT Department