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From Information Services:
Information Services is aware of the capacity, stability, and coverage problems with the university’s WiFi network. There are two key factors that contribute to these WiFi issues: the amazing growth in WiFi devices on campus has led to capacity issues, and the age of the WiFi gear has caused stability problems.
The University of Oregon saw a 112 percent increase in the number of WiFi devices on campus between 2010 and 2012, while the number of students increased five percent during that same period. Not only are there more WiFi devices on campus, they are used to download more content than five years ago. UO also sees high densities of devices in some classrooms and meeting spaces. High density WiFi is both an engineering and funding challenge, as demonstrated by the often unstable WiFi seen at conferences and large sports venues.
The stability issue is caused by aging WiFi equipment. One third of the WiFi equipment on campus is at least seven years old. Because old gear cannot run current software, they are not as easily managed, which creates a challenge in making adjustments to the WiFi network during times of high usage. Older software can also cause compatibility problems with customer devices and contribute to capacity challenges.
Solving the university’s WiFi issues will require substantial funding and significant staff time. We have heard from many of you that WiFi is a critical component for teaching, learning, and conducting business at the University. With that in mind, Information Services is in the middle of the WiFi Stability Project to replace the oldest set of WiFi equipment on campus using funds borrowed from reserves earmarked for other areas in our unit. This will allow us to address the stability issue; new gear means better manageability and, in turn, improved stability. We continue to look at ways to address capacity and coverage issues.
Key tasks of the WiFi Stability Project include:
- replace the oldest one third of the WiFi equipment
- replace network switches as needed
- upgrade the software that manages the WiFi network
- increase back end network capacity for WiFi
- improve the WiFi network’s ability to recover more effectively if a key WiFi component fails
This project is planned to be completed by December 31, 2013. (NOTE: This timeline has been adjusted to avoid making widespread network changes during the busiest weeks of the year.) For project updates, see http://is.uoregon.edu/projects (or visit the IS websites and click “Projects”).
The other WiFi issues—capacity and coverage—remain to be addressed. Some UO schools and colleges encounter capacity and coverage problems more often than others, and we are exploring options with them.
We are all in the same boat
These issues are not unique to the University of Oregon. Inside Higher Ed highlights the topic in article, “Device Explosion” (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/09/05/wireless-devices-weigh-dow…). In the EDUCAUSE annual Top-Ten IT Issues for 2013, the number one item on the list was, “Leveraging the wireless and device explosion on campus.” (http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/top-ten-it-issues-2013-welcome-conne…). Ohio University, Virginia Tech, and Indiana University also face similar issues of bandwidth, capacity, stability, and support, as reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/article/Digital-Devices-Invade-Campus/137217/).
Things everyone can do to help UO WiFi
- Use the UO Secure network in place of uowireless
- Use wired Ethernet instead of WiFi when possible—it provides a more stable and faster connection
- Retire devices that don’t support the 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.11ac WiFi standards
This year, Information Services kicks off its multi-year IT Service Management (ITSM) program.
We will implement ITSM using the ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) framework. The ITIL framework is comprised of two areas, IT Service Delivery and IT Service Support.
IT Service Delivery consists of:
- Availability Management: optimize IT infrastructure capabilities, services, and support to minimize service outages and provide sustained levels of service to meet business requirements
- IT Service Continuity: managing an organization’s capability to provide the necessary level of service following an interruption of service
- Capacity Management: enables an organization to tactically manage resources and strategically plan for future resource requirements
- Service Level Management: maintain and improve the level of service to the University of Oregon
- Financial Management for IT Services: managing the costs associated with providing the organization with the resources needed to meet requirements
IT Service Support consists of:
- Configuration Management: the physical and logical perspective of the IT infrastructure and the IT services provided
- Change Management: standard methods and procedures for effective management of changes
- Release Management: testing, verification, and release of changes to the IT environment
- Incident Management: the day-to-day process that restores normal, acceptable service with a minimal impact on business
- Problem Management: the diagnosis of the root causes of incidents in an effort to proactively manage and eliminate them
- Service Desk (which is a function, rather than a process): provides a central point of intake between users and IS
We’ll start our ITSM program this academic year with a kick-off at the September 11th All Information Services staff meeting. Information Services will also bring an ITIL training company to campus to train and certify 25 IT employees from IS and our IT colleagues across campus. This group of 25 will, in turn, train others on campus.
Sara Stubbs has kindly volunteered to serve as ITSM Program Manager. If you have questions, please contact Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encourage those affected to begin thinking about a transition plan for all Windows XP and Office 2003 systems. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft ends all support for Windows XP and Office 2003. This means that XP and Office 2003 customers will no longer receive security updates, non-security hotfixes, or be able to get support from Microsoft on these products.
This message is to raise awareness about the end of life for Windows XP and Office 2003. When Microsoft ends support for a product, they discontinue all updates including security fixes. Without those updates, computers become much more vulnerable to security exploits.
Microsoft recommends that all Windows XP systems be upgraded to Windows 7 or Windows 8. For more information about the end of support for Windows XP and Office 2003, see http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/endofsupport.aspx or http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/business/archive/2013/04/08/a-year-from-now-support-for-windows-xp-ends-now-what.aspx.
If you have any questions, please contact the Information Services Technology Service Desk (email@example.com; 541-346-HELP).
Oracle is now releasing updates for Java on a quarterly cycle and the latest update addresses 51 security vulnerabilities, so make sure your Java installation is up to date. Remember, if you are not a Banner user it is probably not necessary to have Java enabled in your browser. Instructions on disabling Java in your browser can be found here. If you need any assistance or have any questions, please contact CASIT.
SophosLabs reports a new, very destructive malware threat known as CryptoLocker that encrypts users data and then tries to sell it back to them. Users are being infected in two ways: Email attachments and botnets (a new infection on a computer that is already infected). There is no known remedy for CryptoLocker, so prevention is the best measure:
- Stay patched. Keep your operating system and software up to date.
- Make sure your anti-virus is active and up to date.
- Avoid opening attachments you weren’t expecting, or from people you don’t know well.
- Make regular backups, and store them somewhere safe, preferably offline.
The health records of about 3,000 members of Saint Louis University were exposed after university employees fell victim to a phishing scam this past summer, according to Campus Technology. About 20 university email accounts containing personal health data for those 3,000 people were compromised, and banking details were changed for about 10 employees, though no unauthorized financial transactions occurred.
…according to a message posted on the institution’s Web site, some employees had provided secure account information in response to a “sophisticated phishing email scam they received on July 25.” The subject line of those messages read, “SLU incident where your SLU Net ID may have been compromised” and it appeared to come from a university account. Once recipients clicked on the spam link, the landing page attempted to replicate mySLU, a university portal site for online tools.
Remember: CASIT and UO Information Services will never send out emails asking for account usernames, passwords, and PAC codes. This type of information should never be sent to anyone over email.
Want to learn more about phishing scams and how to identify them? Check out our guide on phishing emails.
Adobe announced yesterday that it has been a target of a major security breach. The attackers gained access to sensitive data belonging to 2.9 million customers, including user IDs, passwords, and encrypted credit card information. Adobe is contacting customers who have been affected by the security breach and resetting user passwords, and is also working with law enforcement to track down those responsible for the attack. If you have an Adobe ID, it is highly advisable to change your passwords on any website where you may have used the same email address and password.
For further information, read Adobe Chief Security Office Brad Arkin’s announcement on the security breach.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the start of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), a collaborative effort from the U.S. government, educational institutions, and industry leaders to raise public awareness on issues of cybersecurity. The NSCAM 2013 theme is “Our Shared Responsibility”:
No individual, business, or government entity is solely responsible for securing the Internet. Everyone has a role in securing their part of cyberspace, including the devices and networks they use. Individual actions have a collective impact and when we use the Internet safely, we make it more secure for everyone. If each of us does our part—implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating young people, training employees—together we will be a digital society safer and more resistant from attacks and more resilient if one occurs.
In the spirit of NCSAM, the Sophos Naked Security blog suggests three essential security tasks you can do to help your friends and family be more secure online.