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News Briefs: 2004

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Information in archived ITSS news was current at publication time but may not reflect the present state of technology or ITSS.

News Briefs: 2005

UMD web server upgrade
1/05/05: On January 5, ITSS staff upgraded the hardware and software for the current UMD web server (www.d.umn.edu). The upgrade is required to keep software levels current, and to tighten security on the system. All existing URLs will remain the same. On the new server, all basic web pages and URLs should work as before with no changes needed. However, we are aware of several situations that will need to be corrected involving CGI and PHP scripts (used mainly for forms, databases, etc.), .htaccess files (for password protection), and with the process to upload files to the new server.
Novell "tree" change
1/05/05: On August 21, 2004, the shared University Novell "tree" was renamed from "University_of_Minnesota" to "UofMN", and a temporary pointer was put in place to ensure both the old and new trees worked. On Wednesday, January 5, the UofM Twin Cities Novell system removed the temporary pointer. Some UMD Novell users that haven't changed their settings this semester may not be able to log into Novell or print until the new UOFMN tree is selected. The change may also affect printing for those who haven't changed their Novell printer settings to use the new tree.
More information: "Updating your computer with the new Novell tree"
Samba services upgrade
1/11/05: On Tuesday, Jan. 11, ITSS staff will upgrade Samba service to improve system and network security. This upgrade may require some Windows desktop changes, and features new names (MyWeb, MyFiles) for the various Samba services. While the old service names (winweb, windir) will be available until July 1, ITSS recommends that customers convert to the new services as soon as possible.
More information: "Updating your Samba File and Print Services"
ITSS offers eClasses
2/1/05: We are pleased to introduce for Spring Semester 2005 on-line eClasses for faculty and staff. Our eClass environment is based on WebX, a threaded messaging system. Instructors post lectures, reading selections, hands-on assignments, and review questions once a week in the online classroom. Class participants can discuss the topic and assignments with the instructor and amongst themselves in the WebX classroom area.
More information: "eClasses"
UMN Internet ID passwords to be tested
2/8/05: University staff in OIT (Office of Information Technology) are testing passwords on all UMN Internet ID (aka X.500 or email) accounts to determine their strength and how recently they have been changed. Accounts that have weak or old passwords will be sent a letter explaining the problem and encouraging the user to update their password.
More information: "UMN Internet ID passwords to be tested"
"FBI" email virus
2/24/05: The FBI has issued a warning about a virus-laden email purporting to come from the FBI. The email messages tell the recipients that their Internet use has been monitored by the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center and that they have accessed illegal web sites. The emails then direct recipients to open an attachment and answer questions. The attachments contain a computer virus. Please delete any such messages.
More information: "FBI"
The "Spy Act" moves forward
2/14/05: The "Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act" (Spy Act) was recently approved by a House of Representatives committee. The Spy Act prohibits web page hijacking and keylogging, requires that spyware programs be easily identifiable and removable, and increases fines against abusers.
More information: Revised Spyware Bill Moves Ahead
AppleTalk zones going away in 2006
03/05/05: Next January, ITSS will be changing how the Macintosh AppleTalk protocol works on campus. Most Macintosh users may not even notice the changes, but departments with Apple LaserWriters will need to start planning for a replacement.
More information: AppleTalk zones going away in 2006
Pharming - the latest online security scam
03/14/05: First came phishing scams, in which con artists hooked unwary internet users one by one into compromising their personal data. Now the latest cyberswindle, pharming, threatens to reel in entire schools of victims.
More information: Pharming Out-Scams Phishing
ITSS workshops offered
03/31/05: ITSS is pleased to offer the campus community the following April 2005 Workshops:
- Dreamweaver Behaviors
- WebCT/Vista 101
More information: Workshops
What search sites know about you
04/04/05: While search engines are quite upfront about sharing their knowledge on topics you enter in the query box, it's not so clear what they know about you.
More information: What Search Sites Know About You
Fighting back against phishing and spam
04/01/05: Microsoft recently filed lawsuits against 117 alleged phishers; read the Computerworld story. And the Florida Attorney General's office filed multimillion-dollar spam suits; read the ZDNet article.
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April security updates for Windows
04/12/05: Microsoft has released five critical security updates for Windows 2000/XP computers. If you are not using the ITSS SUS service, you should manually run Windows Update to get these updates.
More information: Windows Security Update Summaries for April 2005
Viz Lab Presents...
04/15/05: The VDIL is pleased to announce to the campus community a Viz Lab Presents presentation, "Designing Scientific Posters," on Friday, April 15 in MPAC 154. Presented by Andy Breckenridge, Sandy Pederson, and Lisa Valdez.
More information: VDIL Events
Google.com typo leads users to malicious web site
04.28.05: Mistyping "Google.com" as "Googkle.com" can lead users to a malicious web site that attempts to install a number of Trojans and adware/spyware.
More information: Scheme preys on people who mistype Google.com
The Tiger is out
5.6.05: Apple fans flock to release parties in major cities for the new Mac OSX Tiger. Read the Wired News article.
More information: Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright
Apple releases security patches for OS 10.3.9
5.6.05: All Mac OS X 10.3.x Panther users are encouraged to apply the security updates as soon as possible.
More information: About Security Update 2005-005
Secuity flaw in Firefox
5.10.05: Two vulnerabilities were found in Mozilla Firefox that combined allow an attacker to run arbitrary code. The workaround is to temporarily disable Javascript and the software installation "whitelist."
More information: Mozilla Foundation Security Advisory 2005-42
Click it
5.16.05: Students call them clickers -- handheld devices used to key in instant response to a professor's question. The class can see results on an overhead readout, and the gizmos seem to increase student participation in discussions.
More information: No More Wrong Answers
UM Credit Union email is phishing scam
5.20.05: An email being sent to University employees claiming to be from the UM Federal Credit Union is a scam. The email asks for private information. Please do _NOT_ do as it asks. OIT in the Twin Cities is watching for and will contact anyone who appears to have fallen victim to this scam. They are also working with the Credit Union and others to get this scam shut down. If you think that you've fallen victim to this scam, please contact your credit card company ASAP.
More information: Phishing scams return
June 2005 Workshops
5.23.05: ITSS is delighted to offer the campus community the following workshops:
 + Contribute 101 Dreamweaver? Why Not Contribute?
 + Dreamweaver 101 The Basics, Section 1
More information: Workshops
Spyware, Adware - now RansomWare
5.26.05: In a new type of online attack, extortionists remotely encrypt user files and then demand money for the key to decode the information. This type of attack is not widespread at this point, since the attackers leave a trail when they ask for money.
More information: Miscreants encrypt files, hold them for ransom
VDIL "rain forest"
6.7.05: What to do in this rainy weather? Come by and see the rain forest that has sprung up at the Viz Lab! The VDIL is offering a 3D imaging demo from First Article, scanning a 3D object, and digitizing it for 3D model making. Friday, June 10, beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the VDIL (154 MPAC).
More information: VDIL.
NetReg update: BohH, MonH, LSBE
7.5.05: On Sunday, July 11, ITSS staff will make changes to the network in Bohannan Hall, Montague Hall and LSBE to enable them to participate in the NetReg system. NetReg is a web-based authentication system which provides baseline security scanning and username accounting. All desktop computers in these areas will be migrated to the NetReg system and will require registration for network access.
More information: NetReg
FTP and telnet access restricted
7.6.05: On July 11, ITSS will eliminate off-campus access to our major servers for non-secure login access and file transfer programs (telnet, ftp, rsh, rcp, etc.). The major servers involved are our login and web servers, including ub and bulldog (general access servers), www (our main web server), and several special purpose web servers. Access from on campus, the UMD modem pool, and those using our VPN client will not be affected.
More information: FTP and telnet access to be restricted
NetReg update: Eng, MPAC, Voss Kovach
7.11.05: On Sunday, July 17, ITSS staff will make changes to the network in Engineering, MPAC, and Voss Kovach Hall to enable them to participate in the NetReg system. NetReg is a web-based authentication system which provides baseline security scanning and username accounting. All desktop computers in these areas will be migrated to the NetReg system and will require registration for network access.
More information: NetReg
Modem limit raised to 100 hours
8.23.05: We have raised the monthly limit on modem pool usage from 60 hours to 100 hours, effective July 1, 2005. View the updated policies at: Modem Pool Access Fees
More information: Modem Policy
Zotob worm spreading
8.15.05:A new version of the Zotob Worm is spreading through Windows machines. Despite blocks at our borders, the Twin Cities campus has reported hundreds of infected machines caused by an infected laptop brought to campus. All windows users should bring their machines up to the latest patch levels to prevent this infection. For information on how to do this, please see: Automating Microsoft Windows Updates (ITSS Software Update Service).
If there is some reason you choose not to use the ITSS Software Update Service, then see: "Using the Windows Update Service" to run the updates manually.
More information: Automating Microsoft Windows Updates
IE vulnerability
9.1.05:Another very serious vulnerability in Internet Explorer has been announced. Please try to use other browsers when possible, as there is no patch for this one yet.
More information: FRSIRT
Microsoft CDs for students
9.2.05: The University has made an agreement with Microsoft to sell several products to students at discounted prices. Products available are Windows XP Upgrade, MS Office 2003 for Windows, and MS Office for Mac.
More information: U of M Microsoft Software License Program for Students