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Security Notification: Ransomware Delivered Through Phishing Attacks

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

A year ago the Internet saw a rash of malware known as ransomware. This malicious form of cyber attack is known for infecting a computer and encrypting a drive. The victim is then unable to recover their data until paying a ransom to the attacker. Middlebury, like many other institutions was not immune to this form of attack.

A week ago the FBI announced a new variant on a common form of these attacks known as CryptoWall. This form of ransomware is known to have four methods of infecting a computer.

  • Phishing: the attacker may lure a victim into downloading an infected attachment through a phishing campaign and thereby compromising the drive on their system.
  • Phishing: the attacker lures the victim into clicking on a link to a malicious web site where the victim unknowingly downloads the malicious software onto their system and compromises their drive.
  • Infected ad: the attacker posts and infected ad on a website which a user might click thereby causing the download of malicious software.
  • Compromised website: the attacker compromises a website so when a user visits the website they unknowingly download malicious software and compromise their system.

According to the FBI, by far the most common method of attack is phishing, particularly with attachments in the message.

What you can do to protect yourself:

  • Never open attachments or click links in emails that you do not recognize or trust.
  • Know what a phishing attack is and how to spot one. visit http://go.middlebury.edu/phish or http://phishing.org
  • If you think you have fallen for a phish change your password. then call x2200
  • If you believe you system is compromised, unplug it from the power and the network. Shut it down immediately. Do not worry about saving your work. then call x2200.
  • Backup your data routinely. If you save your data to Middfiles or your home directory it will be backed up automatically.
  • Never disable your antivirus software.
  • Send any suspect emails to phishing@middlebury.edu
  • Only download software from known vendor sites.
  • Don’t click on ads in web sites. Visit vendor websites directly.


Weekly Web Updates – June 29, 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

New Features

By default in WordPress you cannot add tags or categories to pages. These are only available for posts. We’ve added the Post Tags and Categories for Pages plugin. You can enable this to add tags and categories to your pages.

We had been using the ShareThis module for Drupal to provide share links for news stories on the Middlebury and MIIS websites. The ShareThis service provides reports on the number of shares to each platform, but we weren’t using the reports and the trackers that the service adds to do this were numerous. We’ve replaced ShareThis with the Drupal service_links module, which provides links to share content without third-party trackers. We’re still using ShareThis on the Museum of Art and 25th Reunion site, but will replace it with Service Links on those as well.


Tweaks and Fixes

  • An archive copy of the 2014-2015 Handbook site is now available as a PDF.
  • Fonts on the WRMC site have been normalized to use the Google Fonts EB Garamond, Arvo, and Paytone One, ensuring that the correct fonts are loaded on all platforms. The site had previously been using some fonts that were only available on Macs.
  • Fixed a CSS issue with the tabs below the scrolling banner on the MCSE site.

Issue with Network Drives on Windows

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

A problem occurred on June 25th that caused Windows computers to temporarily lose their network drive mapping when logging in. We have researched what may have caused this issue, and believe we have fixed it. Please call or email the Helpdesk (helpdesk@middlebury.edu) if you see any problem with your network drives the next time you login to your computer.

Systems Maintenance this Sunday, June 28th

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

During our regular maintenance window this Sunday, June 28th from 6 am – 10 am we have the following activities scheduled:


  • We will be moving telephone equipment starting at 6am. There will be an outage of telephone services lasting up to one hour while the equipment is being moved. The outage has the potential to include access to voicemail as well as incoming and outgoing calls across the Middlebury VT campus, Bread Loaf, and Snowbowl locations.


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






Billy Sneed

ITS – Central Systems & Network Services

Middlebury College

SiteImprove System Maintenance June 25

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The service will be unavailable for an hour later this week.

Due to essential server maintenance, our Siteimprove Response service will be unavailable from 11:00 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 24 to 12:00 AM CDT on Thursday, June 25.  During this hour, we’ll be unable to monitor or alert on customer response checkpoints. However, just because we’re getting some shut eye doesn’t mean you’re in the dark: our new status page will report when the scheduled maintenance begins, and when the period concludes.

You can view the system status and sign up for alerts here.

Weekly Web Updates – June 22, 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

New Features

A new website for Science and Mathematics at Middlebury is live. A lot of work from faculty and staff in these departments, as well as College Communications went into putting this together, especially from Jonathan Kemp and Wendy Shook. Check out the new video about teaching these subjects in the liberal arts.

When authoring a News story in the Middlebury Drupal site, there is now an additional checkbox at the bottom of the form to “Show Media Images”. If you check this, a row of 100×100 image thumbnails will appear below your story’s content. The thumbnails will be of the images that you included in your story’s body content as well as the top-right featured image. Each thumbnail will link to the full-size version of the image, so that it can be easily downloaded and shared.

Also new to News content in the Middlebury Drupal site is that the “Show Publish on date for attribution” checkbox will be checked by default. Since we don’t print content attributions, this won’t change the appearance of your content. However, this is required to be checked in order to automatically sort News content in reverse chronological order on the page. With this checked, you will no longer need to manually sort News content on the page.


* These updates apply only to the Middlebury and MIIS Course Hub.

Tweaks and Fixes

  • A bug that was preventing the Metatag module’s form from working on the page settings form in Drupal has been resolved.
  • The Google Analytics tracking code on the MIIS website has been replaced with a Google Tag Manager, which allows us to manage analytics and tracking without needing to make code changes to the site.
  • The CAS login blocks will no longer have an empty header tag appear above them. This was removed to improve site accessibility support.
  • The settings page for the WordPress Video Plugin will now appear again in WordPress’ administration interface. This was not appearing due to a deprecated version of the function that checks user permissions. The page contains a link to the plugin’s documentation.
  • The height of the left column on department pages is once again correctly calculated to avoid the overlapping of the navigation and address regions.
  • RSS feeds displayed in www.middlebury.edu and www.miis.edu via the “RSS Page” module will now refresh approximately every hour rather than every two hours.

Friday Links – June 19, 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Chemical trick speeds up 3D printing – With a trick of chemistry, researchers have sped up, and smoothed, the process of three-dimensional (3D) printing, producing objects in minutes instead of hours.


scimath The new Middlebury Science and Mathematics feature page — where you can find science news, and events calendar, and department and resource information all in one place — is now live! Visit us at go.middlebury.edu/scimath or find us on the Academics page, under Science and Mathematics in the left hand menu.