Sunday, January 21, 2018

Are You #PrivacyAware?

 Have you ever wondered about the information gathered about you that is out there on the internet for anyone to see? Do a quick Google search and see what you find!

This Sunday we are celebrating Data Privacy Day to raise awareness about privacy. Observed every year on January 28, Data Privacy Day was inspired by the Jan. 28, 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.

This is the perfect opportunity to review your privacy settings and make sure you are comfortable with the information being shared! Here are some tips on how to be aware of privacy in your daily life:

Share with care
  • What you post can last a lifetime: before posting, think about how it might be perceived now and in the future and who might see it.
  • Own your online presence: set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level and regularly review them.
  • Be aware of what's being shared: a photo or video might reveal sensitive information about you and others. Only allow online services or apps the access they truly need.
  • The Golden Rule applies online: post only about others as you have them post about you. Ask permission first.

Tell us how you are #ESUPrivacyAware by commenting on our posts on Twitter (@ESU Information Tech) and Facebook (ESU Information Technology) by February 2, 2018 to win a security gift bag!

At ESU, we respect privacy and actively show our support for the initiative by being a Data Privacy Day Champion this year. As David Hoffman, Associate General Counsel and Global Privacy Officer of Intel states "All companies are data companies today, and we all have a role to play in promoting the ethical and innovative use of data."

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Welcome Back - 5 Security Tips for College Students

Welcome back to campus and welcome new students! To make sure you have a great start into the new semester, we would like to share five practical tips with you:
  1. Keep software up to date
    Download a free copy of our antivirus software
    to your devices and turn on auto updates for all software!
  2. Check your bank statements frequently
    Make it a habit to check your bank statements as often as possible and ideally, use a separate credit card for online transactions, as fraudulent charges may be easier to recover.
  3. Only shop on secure sites
    Check to make sure the URL starts with https:// and read customer reviews before your shop.
  4. Upgrade your passwords
    Use passphrases instead and use different ones for different accounts. Learn more about passwords here.
  5.  Back up everything
    What if you are working on that important project and you lose everything right before the deadline? Back up all your files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. The university offers 1 TB of storage on OneDrive for every student!
For more information, visit the Information Security website:

Have a great start into the new semester!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Computer Chip Flaws - What You Need to Know

At the end of last week, researchers announced two major industry-wide security flaws in processing chips that affect billions of devices. If successfully exploited, they may allow hackers access to sensitive information. The flaws, named "Spectre and Meltdown", are significant for two reasons. First, anyone using a computer, smartphone or cloud service may be affected. Second, the flaws were detected in the hardware, the actual chip, as opposed to software, which makes them difficult to fix. While at first it was unclear whether Apple devices were at risk, the company confirmed that iPhones, iPads and Mac computers may be affected.

But how can these flaws even work? The key lies in the composition of the processor. Over the years, processing chips have been developed to be better and faster on a rapid scale. Some of you might still remember when it used to take some time to load a program on your computer - now it doesn't even take a second. In order to process faster, newer chips utilize a temporary storage that pre-loads the data needed to execute programs and switches between two modes - the operating system and the software programs mode. This is the key to "Meltdown" - the separation of the two modes was thought to provide data security. Due to the intersection between the two areas, attackers could now cross these limits and compromise sensitive data. "Spectre" on the other hand focuses on exploiting data between multiple software programs in use by having programs "spy" on each other.

At this point, it is unsure if either flaw has been exploited successfully. Companies and researchers disagree whether exploits could be executed relatively easily or whether it takes a skilled hacker to launch an attack. While a whole new generation of computer chips may be necessary to eliminate risk completely, the goal for now is to limit risk by protecting against known malware that could launch these attacks. Companies are working around the clock to release software updates for various operating systems and programs.

While there is no reason to panic, there are some things you can (and should) do. Now especially, it is important to run up-to-date virus and malware protection and use caution online. Most importantly, update your software! Companies will continuously release updates for operating systems, browsers and other software over the next few days - make sure you are up-to-date! If you have questions about a specific device or program, contact the manufacturer for the latest information about updates.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

IT Only Takes a Minute - HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Since last summer, we have been recording our web series,
IT Only Takes a Minute, where we bring all the latest IT Updates right to your device.

In the last episode for 2017, we talk about what projects we have planned for 2018. 

Along with it, here's a bonus video! A montage of all the videos we've been recording this past year. We would like to thank everyone for being a part of this journey!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

IT Help Desk Winter Break Hours

IT Help Desk Winter Break Hours

We’d like to take a break from our regular post to share our hours for the winter break.

Monday, December 12 – Thursday, December 14:  8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday December 15: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
CLOSED Saturday & Sunday, December 16 - 17
Monday, December 18 – Thursday, December 21 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday, December 22: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
CLOSED December 23 – January 1, 2018
Monday, January 2 – Friday, January 12: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
CLOSED Saturdays and Sundays, January 6, 7, 13, & 14
CLOSED Monday, January 15 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day

We will resume our regular hours on Tuesday, January 16, as well as resuming our informative Help Desk blog posts.  Have a wonderful winter break, and a Happy New Year!


Don't Save Passwords In Your Web Browser!

It's tempting.  Google, Firefox, Apple and Microsoft make it very appealing.  It's just one click to save you time.  After you enter your username and password into a website, the browser inevitably prompts you to "Save your Password".  Then, the next time you visit the site your credentials will be ready and waiting for you!  You don't even have to type them in.


At least on ESU classroom, lab or public access computers.  

In classrooms on campus, users are encouraged to log in using the 'smart' account.  This ensures that all tech in the room is configured and ready to go.  The downside is that 'smart' is a shared resource now.  Each user of that computer can save files to the desktop, reconfigure icons or yes--save their passwords in the browser!  This means that each subsequent user--faculty, staff, student or guest, would then have access to the originators files, email, Canvas or more.

Similarly, on other shared devices--for example, checkout computers and some lab PC's, what may seem like a convenience is only giving the next student free reign into your content if you've clicked the ever-tempting "Save my Password" button.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking "but I log in with my own account to my computer and I don't share that with anyone".  And you are correct, that is safer.  To be completely safe, especially for credentials to highly sensitive information, just ignore that tempting prompt and click "No."

Password Choice

Friday, December 8, 2017

ARM Twisting in IT

No, this article isn't about how to twist an IT employee's arm--it's about his or her ARM.  ARM is  not a new technology, rather it's a different kind of processor technology.  All ESU computers use a variant of Intel's Core x86 64-bit processors.  ARM processors allow computers to consume less power and use small, lightweight form factors.  Unlike a typical computer, they are "always on", similar to what you'd experience when turning on an iPad.  It's just there--ready to use.  And with the latest generation of devices, you can run traditional Windows apps.  Microsoft ventured into this realm a few years back with the Windows RT-powered Surface device.  Unfortunately, it had two things going against it--the Windows 8-derived OS and the fact that it could only run new apps installed from the Windows Store.  At the time, regular Microsoft Office couldn't even run on it.  Those limitations are now gone with the new generation.  Speed, battery life and other performance form factors are yet to be proven--the first devices being announced this week from HP and Asus.  ESU IT will continue to monitor the advancements in this technology and someday you may be able to twist our arms to get one.